'We’ll deal with it, don’t worry......It’s embarrassing for me. It had the support of the PFA, and every player in the country should have adhered to that from the PFA’s request. We’re all wearing the badges and he goes and he lets us down', Sir Alex is quoted in the Mail on Sunday.
But the Manchester United manager has no right to be 'embarrassed' at all. Although Sir Alex likes to run the club like a third world dictatorship (and most effectively, too, it has to be said), there is such a thing as personal freedom; and Rio Ferdinand has the right to express his view that the FA and the international footballing authorities in general aren't doing enough to stamp out racism in the game.
Ferdinand, together with a number of other black football players yesterday, have by their actions managed to get their views on this emotive issue onto the back pages of the newspapers in an attempt to shame football into doing more.
Sir Alex, of course, doesn't understand. He has probably never been a victim of racism because of the colour of his skin. Just for once, he needs to keep a low profile and think for a moment what an insult it is for black players in general to have to 'celebrate' a campaign that has less than £300,000 a year in funding (the equivalent of less than a week-and-a-half of John Terry's wages). Fergie has to appreciate what black footballers still go through (witness the disgraceful affair involving England's Danny Rose in Serbia earlier this week). And Manchester United's manager has to respect the fact that Ferdinand and his close family have had a torrid 12 months due to that verbal tussle between brother Anton and John Terry, which ended up in court.
Rio Ferdinand knew exactly what he was doing yesterday, and Sir Alex isn't used to players not toeing his line. But this is one instance where the Manchester United boss needs to give a player some slack. Sir Alex has got this one massively wrong. Don't blame it on Rio.
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