Why should Rafa congratulate Ferguson?

Why should Rafa congratulate Ferguson?
May 18, 2009 Paul Tomkins

I see that Rafa Benítez is being criticised for not congratulating Alex Ferguson upon United’s success.

After the West Brom game, Rafa said:

“I prefer just to say well done to the club, a big club, a good club. Normally you have to be polite and respect the other manager but during the season we have seen a lot of things that I didn’t like, so that’s it. I say congratulations to United because they have won. And that’s it.”

Surely that’s more than enough? After all, Ferguson is hardly noted for his grace in defeat, is he? When Liverpool had humped his team 4-1 at Old Trafford, Ferguson said United had been the better side. That’s the mark of the man’s generosity. Very humble, Sir Alex.

The fact is Ferguson dislikes anyone who has the temerity to put up a challenge to his side. Arsene Wenger is now his best pal, given that Arsenal are a distant 4th. Years ago he despised him.

And anyway, why should Rafa congratulate a man who, in conjunction with his fat-headed best pal, launched a hugely personal attack on him, calling his actions ‘beyond the pale’ over some innocent gestures that only two men in the whole world took offence to, and only did so six days after the event? (Not that they discussed and planned it during their regular phone chats.)

Rafa’s ‘rant’ may have been badly timed, but it was an open and honest assessment – at least from his point of view. Ill-advised it might have been, but there was no deceit involved. He told the watching world what he thought, for better or worse.

What Allardyce and Ferguson conspired to do was dirty, underhand, personal and pathetic. It involved managers of two different Premiership clubs trying to discredit another.

But it’s been wiped under the carpet, as has Ferguson’s laughable pre-match press conference for the Fulham game, when he bizarrely listed a load of inaccurate figures about Liverpool’s spending. You’d think Rafa’s ‘rant’ was the only thing that took place this season.

United won the league, so congratulations to them. Yes, they benefitted from the worst refereeing decision of the season when they appeared to be choking big-time against Spurs, but their extra experience and depth to their squad saw them over the line, Howard Webb’s inexplicable intervention notwithstanding.

But next season could be when it gets really interesting.

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