Early Doors

Fergie an ungrateful guest

Early Doors

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There are few managers anywhere in football who have benefitted more from home advantage as much as Alex Ferguson.

As surprisingly docile as the Old Trafford crowd can be, there is nothing like 75,000 screaming fans to influence a referee's decisions. Just ask Howard Webb.

So you'd think that he would appreciate when visiting other clubs that not everything will always be exactly to his pleasing.

Sadly, that's not the case. Being a knight of the realm, Ferguson sees it as his duty to look down his nose at the rest of the league and carry on like a disgruntled hotel guest complaining a lack of sea view.

Ferguson said in the United club magazine: "With all the money in the Premier League, some grounds should be better. There should be a minimum standard of size of dressing room, especially now you have more players on your bench and an increased staff.

"You have requirements for stadiums to be eligible for certain divisions, so the quality of the dressing room should be part of that. Everton's are so narrow it is unbelievable."

Perhaps he is right. Once freed from the constraints of the Goodison Park box rooms and transferred to the palatial facilities at, say, Wembley, the Toffees seem to do alright, especially against United. The space-age locker rooms of the national stadium certainly didn't help Fergie's men take a good penalty in the recent semi-finals there.

Ferguson didn't just reserve his comments for the historically big clubs though, he even beat up on the little guy too.

He continued: "Portsmouth's away dressing room is not great and the one at Craven Cottage is smaller than my office."

To be fair to him, when he wasn't carrying on like a snooty distant relative running their fingers across the mantelpiece when they visit, Ferguson went on to say the Cottage is one of his favourite grounds to visit, and that the modern game requires more playing and backroom staff to be crammed into the same old facilities.

However, his comments can only help bring forward the chilling future in which every ground in the league is a soulless new-build, out-of-town multi-purpose arena sandwiched between a motorway junction and a carpet warehouse.

Just as the FA sprang into action by sacking Wembley's head groundsman following Ferguson and Arsene Wenger's complaints, expect a hastily cobbled together report from Soho Square ordering clubs without an international fan base to suddenly begin major redevelopments.  

Perhaps having these comments released now is a way of distracting an easily-led media from a bigger issue, knowing that hacks with quotas to fill and deadlines to meet will lap it up. No, that can't be it.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: Kath Cassidy, tea lady at St James' Park for over 40 years, gives Alan shearer some advice on how to motivate his players - "I might go into the dressing room before a game with my picture of Jackie Milburn holding his medals. I'd say to the players 'Get your finger out, look what he won for £20 a week.'"

FOREIGN VIEW: The Italian league could split in two after a meeting of Serie A and B presidents ended without agreement over future financial arrangements.

"We have created a new league for Serie A," Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini said after being the first to leave the meeting in Milan. "This time it's for real. It's not satisfactory but it was necessary."

YOUR VIEW: mikewwfc - "Is it just me or is Andy "I told you so" Gray becoming a fat headed know it all? He's really starting to annoy me! Stop patronising us viewers... If you where that good you`d be a manager now shut your cake hole!!!"

who_are_ya_85 - "I remember when I was in uni and I spent the whole week before a Liverpool v Man Utd game slating O'Shea and then he done me the pleasure of scoring an 80th-minute winner... A perfect "egg on my face" moment."

COMING UP: We've got team news and match facts for all of the weekend's Premier League matches, starting with Saturday's games: Middlesbrough v Manchester United, Chelsea v Fulham, Manchester City v Blackburn Rovers, Portsmouth v Arsenal, Stoke City v West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic v Bolton Wanderers.

There's also some top blogging from Danny Murphy and Jim White, as well as the latest sure-fire Fantasy tips in Choose 'em or lose 'em.

Not only that, but there's the continuation of the World Snooker Championship semi-finals and the Rome Masters tennis. Boo-yah!

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