Ex-captain says it's 'pathetic' to blame Sir Alex for United woes

Updated: 2014-01-26 07:32

By Reuters in London(China Daily)

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Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson has labeled it a "pathetic excuse" to blame ex-boss Sir Alex Ferguson's presence at matches for the club's current struggles.

After ceding the managerial reins to David Moyes in the offseason, Ferguson has taken up a role as a club director and is frequently pictured in the stands watching United.

The sight of Ferguson peering down from the directors' box has divided opinion, with some fans comparing Moyes' situation with the one that faced Wilf McGuinness when he replaced Matt Busby in 1969.

"To see Sir Alex at matches shows that he's got great support for the club," Robson, who spent 13 years at United, told Sky Sports.

"For anybody trying to make an excuse and say 'Sir Alex is in the stand watching me play. I'm going to wilt' - well why didn't you wilt when he was manager?

"It's just weak excuses that the media and some ex-players and managers have come out with. It's a pathetic excuse.

"If Sir Alex wasn't going to games and wasn't giving David Moyes support, it would show he doesn't care, is selfish and is getting on with his own life. Instead, it shows he wants to see the club do well."

United has had a torrid start to the season and is seventh in the Premier League. It exited the FA Cup at the start of January and suffered a painful League Cup semifinal penalty shootout loss to Sunderland on Wednesday.

Ferguson's presence at games has drawn unwanted comparisons with the ill-fated spell when McGuinness was in charge of the club.

Ex-captain says it's 'pathetic' to blame Sir Alex for United woes

Busby remained "upstairs" at United in the late 1960s in the same way that Ferguson is doing now.

Moyes is not expected to suffer the same fate as McGuinness, who was fired in 1970 and replaced by his predecessor.

The former Everton manager, who failed to win any silverware in his 11 years at the Merseyside club, has frequently maintained Ferguson, who retired last May after 26 trophy-laden seasons at the club, is a valuable sounding board.

Ferguson said on Friday that United's "great philosophy and history" would mean it would always do well and insisted he was enjoying life watching the team as a fan despite the indifferent results since he retired.

"I've been really enjoying it, it's been great," Ferguson told Sky Sports after being named as a coaching ambassador for European governing body UEFA.

"I have the privilege of going to watch the team pretty much when I want. I have been to a few, not all of them, and I can look at it in a different way now.

"I wear my supporters' hat and my supporters' scarf."

(China Daily 01/26/2014 page11)