Mike Phelan is set continue his role as the middle man between Sir Alex Ferguson and the BBC (in addition to occasional assistant management duties) as the Scot persists with his boycott of the organisation. Fergie hasn’t spoken to the BBC in six years, following the airing of a Panorama documentary, which looked into the professional relationship between Ferguson and his son, Jason, an agent.
The Premier League has brought in new regulations this season, requiring managers to speak to broadcasting rights-holders, which includes the BBC. Following United’s 2-2 draw against Fulham, however, Ferguson once again refused to give comment to Match of the Day 2. The United manager will risk a series of escalating fines as long as he keeps up the boycott, and it’ll be interesting to see how long Ferguson lasts before he gives it up. More interesting, perhaps, will be how he reacts to BBC interviews if/when he does speak to them.
Ferguson, who has had more than a few clashes with the media in his 24-year tenure at Old Trafford, originally took exception to the BBC’s coverage of a Panorama documentary titled Father and Son. The programme revealed that several members of United’s first team squad had been signed up by Jason Ferguson’s Elite agency, and claimed that his father actively encouraged youngsters to sign up with the agency. Just before the documentary was aired, United announced that they were severing their ties with Elite.
It will be a bitter pill for Ferguson to swallow if he winds up talking to the BBC again. He has made his feelings about the BBC clear in the past, stating in 2007:
“The BBC is the kind of company that never apologise, and they never will apologise. They did a story about my son that was a whole lot of nonsense. It was all made-up stuff, brown paper bags and that kind of carry-on. It was a horrible attack on my son’s honour and he should never have been accused of that.”
The coming weeks will be telling in the Ferguson vs. BBC dispute. Whose side are you on?