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From the Independent:

Exclusive: Arsenal still owe me apology over Old Trafford food fracas, claims furious Ferguson
United manager labels Wenger 'a disgrace' as he breaks silence over what happened in tunnel
By Glenn Moore

15 January 2005

With less than three weeks to go before his side visit Highbury, Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday reopened the controversy surrounding Manchester United's victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford in October, and the infamous "food fight" which followed it in the Old Trafford tunnel.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Ferguson spoke in detail about the incidents for the first time. He described the behaviour of Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, as a "disgrace" and the refusal of the Arsenal board to apologise as a disappointment.

Ferguson also wanted to "set the record straight" about the match. He said Wenger's suggestion that Arsenal's unbeaten run came to an end only because his team had been "kicked off the pitch" was completely inaccurate. Ferguson said that not only were Arsenal the aggressors on the pitch, they were also responsible for the subsequent tunnel row which left Ferguson with pizza and soup stains on his shirt.

Ferguson told me: "In the tunnel he [Wenger] was publicly criticising my players, calling them cheats. I was told about this when they came into the dressing-room, so I went out into the tunnel and said to him: 'You get in there and behave yourself, leave my players alone'.

"He came sprinting towards me with his hands raised saying: 'What do you want to do about it?' He was standing right there. To not apologise for the behaviour of the players to another manager is unthinkable. It is a disgrace. But I don't expect Wenger to ever apologise."

Ferguson said the clubs then agreed, at boardroom level, not to discuss the incident but Arsenal reneged on the deal. "In the boardroom David Gill [United's chief executive] and David Dein [Arsenal's vice-chairman] agreed nothing would be said by either club," Ferguson said. "Then in the ensuing weeks all you got was a diatribe from Arsenal about being kicked off the pitch and all that nonsense. David Gill phoned David Dein three times to complain about this but nothing was done.

"Now the return is coming round [1 February] and they will come out with another diatribe. David Gill and I feel we should set the record right. I don't expect Wenger ever to apologise for anything - he's that type of person - but I would have expected Arsenal Football Club to have written to David Gill apologising for their players' behaviour. David Gill, without question, would not have allowed that to happen at Manchester United, and neither would I."

As well as being angered at the general acceptance of Arsenal's version of events surrounding the "food fight", Ferguson is equally concerned at the prevailing view of the match itself. Ferguson has been carefully through the tape. He admits Ruud van Nistelrooy's foul on Ashley Cole, for which he incurred a three-match ban, was reprehensible but said there was an equally dangerous foul by Thierry Henry on Gabriel Heinze that went unpunished. In the game as a whole Arsenal committed more fouls than United.

"The great thing about television is we can go through the video," Ferguson said. "If you look at the overall picture of the game, they had more bookings than us, more fouls than us, and in my opinion the worst fouls in the game. [Jose Antonio] Reyes has complained he was kicked off the pitch. There were four fouls on Reyes, one from Wayne Rooney, one from Phil Neville and two from Gary Neville.

"Four fouls in the whole match - that hardly constitutes being 'kicked off the pitch'. There were six fouls on [Cristiano] Ronaldo and one of the worst was from Reyes. Patrick Vieira did six fouls before the one he was booked for, a cynical one on Ryan Giggs in the second half. To say the least that is stretching the referee's tolerance. He's the captain. He almost refereed the game that day, or tried to."

Ferguson added: "Wenger's quote on the morning of the game: 'I can't promise my players will behave themselves', was a terrible message in relation to what happened the previous year. In the opening 45 seconds Cole has gone out and done Ronaldo. I'm not complaining. Football is a competitive game. Great forwards like Ronaldo always get tackled. But that set the benchmark. The referee [Mike Riley] could easily have booked Cole after 45 seconds but what would that have done to the game? The referee tried his very best to have control and allow the game to flow, which is great credit to him.

"Van Nistelrooy could have damaged Ashley Cole with that tackle. He could have given him a serious injury and he knows that. Ruud could'nt believe it when he saw it on video. He's not that kind of player. Neither would you say Henry was the type to be violent but he could have seriously injured Gabriel Heinze when he kneed him in the head. We reported that but the FA said, 'It is more than 48 hours after the game, we can't do anything'.

"Far be it from us being supposed to have kicked Arsenal off the pitch. Yet Wenger is always complaining the match was not played in the right spirit. They are the worst losers of all time. They don't know how to lose. Maybe it is just Manchester United. They don't lose many games to other teams."

Maybe not, but Ferguson's comments echo those made by Sir Bobby Robson after Arsenal lost at home to Newcastle three seasons ago, a match which concluded with Henry confronting the referee Graham Poll on the pitch. Henry was later banned for three matches.

Ferguson added: "We tend to forget that the worst disciplinary record of all time was Arsenal's up until last season. Everybody hoped that the watershed for them would be that game at Old Trafford when Van Nistelrooy was attacked by their players.

"In fairness to them it has improved. They had been up to all sorts, manhandling referees, spitting at players. Yet they are now seen as paragons of virtue. To Wenger it never happens, it is all some dream or nightmare. People forget he was done for manhandling a referee [fourth official Paul Taylor in August 2000]. He got a 12-match suspension [and fine of four weeks' wages] wiped out to a [£10,000] fine [on appeal, the charge having been downgraded].

"I'm not saying this to wind the game up," concluded Ferguson. "I'm saying this to protect my club before we go to Highbury for a crucial match. It's important to put the facts right. Whoever gets to referee the game has got a mammoth job on and I don't want him going into it with the wrong impression of what really happened at Old Trafford."

As for the match itself, given an even playing field Ferguson, who takes his team to Liverpool today, is confident. "It is a must-win game, but I never feel threatened by Arsenal. I know we can handle them."

----

And the mancs have the nerve to call Wenger a whinger? Sad. Really sad.
 

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this is the important bit, the message to the next ref. ;)

khimik said:
"I'm not saying this to wind the game up," concluded Ferguson. "I'm saying this to protect my club before we go to Highbury for a crucial match. It's important to put the facts right. Whoever gets to referee the game has got a mammoth job on and I don't want him going into it with the wrong impression of what really happened at Old Trafford."

this is class.

khimik said:
As for the match itself, given an even playing field Ferguson, who takes his team to Liverpool today, is confident. "It is a must-win game, but I never feel threatened by Arsenal. I know we can handle them."
he never feels threatened by us as long as he can intimidate the referee before the match. ;)


i hope we go out there and kick them to kingdom come this time, we will never get a fair football match in these games so let's get into them at our home ground, even if we get three men sent off at least it will be a protest against their anti-football, it's a disgrace how they play against us these past few seasons and the medie ignore it and almost revel in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Have you heard Reyes' comments to it? He seems more than up for it and wants to payback Sister Gary a little.
 

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khimik said:
Have you heard Reyes' comments to it? He seems more than up for it and wants to payback Sister Gary a little.
yeah but Reyes is a boy really, i wanna see Vieira take it to them with velocity, also Ralph to show Giggs that he is a woman and Kolo to slap RvN about, if they think football doesn't have rules to follow then i know who i'll back in a straight fight, just for this one game only.
 

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khimik said:
van Nistelrooy won't be playing, he's still injured :irritate:
Fergie said the other day it might be his comeback game, i really hope this is true because the reception he gets will be fantastically volatile, i am sure with him on the pitch Highbury will be a cauldron. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Vieira usually rocks up for these games, and I wouldn't be surprised if o'l Ruudy boy takes a right kicking from Ashley Cole when nobody is looking. :D
 

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You know when parents have an intercom to pick up when the baby starts crying? Maybe the press have one hooked up to fergie's office at OT, and when he starts bawling they send a correspondent to rock the cradle and coo "Awww, what did the nasty men in London do to upset little diddums this time" and Sir tiny Tears pours his little heart out while curled up in the foetal position.
I suggest he needs a good kicking. 'Spare the rod - spoil the child'
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Attila_the_Nun said:
You know when parents have an intercom to pick up when the baby starts crying? Maybe the press have one hooked up to fergie's office at OT, and when he starts bawling they send a correspondent to rock the cradle and coo "Awww, what did the nasty men in London do to upset little diddums this time" and Sir tiny Tears pours his little heart out while curled up in the foetal position.
I suggest he needs a good kicking.
:howler: :howler: :howler:
 

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khimik said:
Vieira usually rocks up for these games, and I wouldn't be surprised if o'l Ruudy boy takes a right kicking from Ashley Cole when nobody is looking. :D
i would take great pleasure in seeing him stretchered off and i have never said that about anyone else in the game, not even Teddy Sheringham. :D
 

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khimik said:
van Nistelrooy won't be playing, he's still injured :irritate:
How can they possibly know when he's injured? he's usually on the deck screaming i agony when he's feeling fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Attila_the_Nun said:
How can they possibly know when he's injured? he's usually on the deck screaming i agony when he's feeling fine.
Let's just say they were giving him pamphlets of all glue factories in England, it was that serious!
 

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khimik said:
I wonder if Rooney'll get any of the abuse? It was his dive and all.
obviously he'll get some just for being a fat scouse pikey, but he won't get the utter contempt that is reserved for snidekunt of snideland. ;)

RvN will be lucky to survive from the coach to the entrance.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I doubt Rooood will try anything overly snidey at Highbury compared to Old Trafford though. He's a big girl enough as it is. I doubt he'd try and severe Ashley's knee at Highbury, he hasn't got the balls to do something like that.
 

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khimik said:
Let's just say they were giving him pamphlets of all glue factories in England, it was that serious!
Ha ha! brilliant! I'm going to use that.
 

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khimik said:
I doubt Rooood will try anything overly snidey at Highbury compared to Old Trafford though. He's a big girl enough as it is. I doubt he'd try and severe Ashley's knee at Highbury, he hasn't got the balls to do something like that.

well he got Campbell sent off two years ago, then he did his dying swan act when Paddy won a great tackle last year, this guy has no morals, he lives to cheat, it's all perfectly natural to him.
 

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khimik said:
Ferguson has been carefully through the tape. He admits Ruud van Nistelrooy's foul on Ashley Cole, for which he incurred a three-match ban, was reprehensible but said there was an equally dangerous foul by Thierry Henry on Gabriel Heinze that went unpunished.
LOL. equally dangerous? henry practically had no choice but to fall on heinze or try to jump over him which could of hurt heinze even more. heinze didnt complain, henry could not help falling over. and rooney pushed henry over as soon as he got up which was much worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Jern Lizardhous said:
well he got Campbell sent off two years ago,
Wasn't that Solksjaer? Mr. I never do anything wrong because I'm the 'Baby Faced Assassin'?

then he did his dying swan act when Paddy won a great tackle last year, this guy has no morals, he lives to cheat, it's all perfectly natural to him.
He's like the Grinch who stole Christmas.
 

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Jern Lizardhous said:
RvN will be lucky to survive from the coach to the entrance.
I Promise i'll be there to swearing this tosser with all my best, I Am IWAN, Reporting for duty! :crazy:
 
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