Wednesday 22 November 2017

Fergie does not fear violence at Champions League clash with Rangers

Sir Alex Ferguson feels fans will behave. Photo: Getty Images
Sir Alex Ferguson feels fans will behave. Photo: Getty Images

Mark Ogden

Sir Alex Ferguson insists Manchester United’s Champions League clash with Rangers next month will pass off trouble-free, despite concerns over the Scottish club’s traveling support in the wake of the violence that marred their 2008 Uefa Cup final defeat at the City of Manchester Stadium.

United are due to host the Scottish champions on Tues, Sept 14 in the opening fixture in Group C and Greater Manchester Police have already confirmed plans to mount a comprehensive security operation for the game.

The last meeting between the two clubs, a Champions League group fixture at Old Trafford in Nov 2003, passed off without incident, but attempts by Gary Neville to stage a testimonial against Rangers this season were vetoed by local authorities.

Ferguson, a former Rangers player, insists that the mass invasion of Rangers fans for the Uefa Cup final - which saw almost 150,000 head south of the border - will not be repeated next month, however, and he is confident the game will not be marred by trouble.

He said: “There were circumstances that day (Uefa Cup Final) and I don’t think it was well organised. They were inviting fans down without tickets and things like that.

“But we won’t be doing that. We’ll be giving Rangers a proper allocation. Rangers have fantastic supporters and they have bad elements, but everybody has.

“That unfortunate day could have been avoided, but too many travelled without tickets it has to be said.

“It won’t happen here because I think Rangers will control where the tickets are going and I don’t expect their fans to travel without a ticket.

“But the Rangers game is going to be subjected to a tremendous focus because of my association with them and the Scotland-England thing. It’s quite exciting.”

Rio Ferdinand, the England defender, could be fit in time for the Rangers clash with Ferguson confirming that he has returned to full training this week.

Ferguson had claimed a week ago that Ferdinand would be out until the end of September with the knee ligament injury sustained prior to the World Cup.

But the United manager is now confident that Ferdinand can make a swift return to action.

He said: “Things are looking up because Rio has trained this week and made fantastic progress.

“Until a week ago, Rio hadn’t done any football training, but I think he read what I said and it gave him a bit of a kick.

“He will train with the reserves today, but we are now trying to get him a game at some level over the next couple of weeks.”

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