A friend of Sir Alex Ferguson has been sacked as one of Manchester United's VIP hosts after he put his arm around a female colleague and called her "love".
Vince Miller, 82, has left his role as a matchday compere at Old Trafford after almost 30 years in the job. Miller, a singer and comedian from Stockport, Greater Manchester whose son Danny plays Aaron Dingle in the soap opera Emmerdale, was a popular figure at the club and counted Ferguson among his friends.
His departure follows a formal complaint from a female colleague who said Miller had put his arm around her and called her "love".
Part of Miller's duties on a matchday would involve interviewing former United players for fans enjoying the club's corporate hospitality. Miller is known to have interviewed Ferguson on occasion on matchdays.
Miller said: "I had 29 great years and don't want to go into it. It's all done and dusted. I had a great friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson and decided to retire with dignity."
But the news has been dimly received by those close to Miller. Promoter Micky Martin, a friend of Miller, told the Manchester Evening News: "I think it's disgraceful and disgusting. All he did was bring a bit of Mancunian warmth to what he was doing by calling someone love. She's taken offence and reported it.
"He was asked to resign graciously and offered two tickets in the North Stand for the rest of the season. He refused to accept as it would have made him look guilty.
“Sir Matt Busby would spin in his grave if he knew what had happened. I’ve known Vince for over 40 years. His work as the club has been impeccable. The stars all love him. He’s devastated. All he’s done is bring out the warm Mancunian in him but one of the waitresses was offended.
"Some people in different parts of the country call you ‘duck’, or ‘sweetheart’ or ‘darling’. We say ‘love’. Everybody in Coronation Street says ‘love’. Should they be sacked? I wouldn’t have thought so. I think it’s disgraceful, I really do."
A United spokesperson said: "All of our lounges receive feedback from fans that enjoy the facilities on matchday. As a result of the feedback we received in the old boardroom over a period of time, we have changed the offering to supporters in that room and part of that change has meant a change in room host."