Date:Saturday September 15 2007
Sir Alex Ferguson feels that Chelsea dictate to the Premier League and there's no fairness in scheduling games.
The United boss joined Rafa Benítez who complained about the amount of lunchtime kick-offs, something that has been bothering Fergie and his team for years. But his rant about the whole business is quite amazing... he actually declared that he's got the stats as evidence that we had more lunchtime kick-offs than any other team in the past five years!
'We've had to do it so many times. I know Rafa is complaining and he is quite right to complain because if there is an unfairness against teams it should be addressed,' he complained.
'We've done the stats and over the last five years we have had more lunchtime kick-offs than anyone.'
'Take last season's example. Chelsea had a Sunday game against Tottenham and a Tuesday European tie so the Premier League changed it at Chelsea's behest to a Saturday lunchtime.
'It gave Chelsea three days' rest to prepare for their European game. Fine. But it left Tottenham only a day and half's rest after a European game on the Thursday night. So there was no fairness.
'The Premier League said they had to protect and be fair to the teams in Europe, but their job is to protect and be fair to teams in the Premier League.
'But when we got a lunchtime game after the semi-final of the European Cup in Milan we asked for it to be changed, but they said no because it wasn't fair on Manchester City who had no game at all that week.
'So the Premier League changed the Chelsea fixture - despite what Tottenham said - but when they had an opportunity to change ours, they didn't.
'How you complain about these things I don't know. They probably wouldn't listen anyway. You would think that having the most TV lunchtime kick-offs over the last five years deserves some kind of attention.'
Yeah, maybe. And I agree that the handling of the Chelsea v Tottenham game was outrageous to say the least. But what followed is really in Mourinho's style and we should not wander into his territory of moaning - top dogs don't like their territory breached, so he might come up with even wilder claims now!
For Sir Alex claimed that Chelsea are allowed to dictate to the Premier League. It's something that Mourinho had said about United last season, saying that fixtures have gone against Chelsea... of course, that had little foundation, considering the Spurs game, for example. But Fergie is also going a bit too far when saying Chelsea dictate.
'I do think that the successful teams are punished,' he added, more reasonably. 'One of the top teams is always going to be a lunchtime kick-off or at a time that suits the public demand.
'You can't blame Sky or Setanta and once you do a deal with TV you're shaking hands with the devil. Then you have to accept that they are going to be in control.
'Instead it's the fault of the Premier League, particularly with these lunchtime kickoffs after European and international games.'
The thing is, the acceptance of that TV are in control resulted in making an awful lot of money in the Premiership. It's fans who are really punished by it, not the teams. Managers should be happy that more and more games are shown on TV, for that means they will be able to spend more and more bucks on quality players. That's all.
Date:Saturday September 15 2007
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