23 May, 2008

Feud for Thought

It’s a pretty well known fact that a lot of football managers refuse to speak to certain television stations because of ongoing beefs. By that I mean: lots of people hate the BBC because they broadcast lies all the time and use our money to fund it. A couple of years ago now, a Panorama special looked into the perceived world of bungs and dodgy-dealings that underpin the modern game, with footage allegedly showing Pompey boss Harry Redknapp illegally tapping up Andy Todd, and Bolton boss Sam Allerdyce receiving kickbacks from two agents. Obviously both men denied all the accusations, but until recently have refused to appear on BBC radio or TV, even snubbing Match of the Day at every opportunity.

The most famous case is of course Alex Ferguson, who has not spoken to the BBC since May 2004 after a documentary suggestively probed transfer deals at Manchester United involving his son Jason, then a football agent. Following an investigation at the club into transfers and agent payments that revealed nothing underhand, Ferguson demanded an apology from the Beeb, which has been unsurprisingly not exactly forthcoming. He has therefore refused all requests for interviews since, and a source said: “he (only) agreed to present the (2007 Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Acheivement Award) because he is a great friend and has enormous respect for Sir Bobby Charlton. It does not signal an end to hostilities.” Battle lines are quite clearly drawn then.

Now if ever there was a gauge to measure the differences between the top four divisions, it’s this. Stockport boss Jim Gannon has today added his name to the illustrious list of feuding managers, but this time taking aim at Sky. He has reportedly refused to co-operate with the company before his club’s play-off final with Rochdale, but what you may ask is the reason? Unfounded suggestions of paedophilia? Brazen accusations of consorting with prostitutes? No, much better than that. He shall not be appearing on Sky this weekend to protest against an on-going nine-month customer relations dispute over his defective Sky box, which they apparently refuse to replace. Seriously. It’s pretty glamorous in League Two kids!

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