Sir Alex ends his six-year BBC interview boycott


By Michael MacLeod

SIR Alex Ferguson has ended his six year BBC boycott – by giving an interview at a horse race.

The Manchester United manager has held a grudge against the broadcasters for accusing his football agent son Jason of orchestrating dodgy transfer dealings in a TV documentary in 2004.

He furiously branded the BBC as “arrogant beyond belief” over the spat.

But the Scot was talked into ending his BBC silence by Radio 5 Live’s horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght, who spotted the manager celebrating the victory of his horse at the Aintree festival on Thursday.

Celebrating Fergie’s u-turn, presenter Richard Bacon said: “It was quite an exciting moment.”

Sir Alex’s ongoing resentment is highlighted every week in his conspicuous absence from the flagship Match of the Day show.

Shuns the cameras

He shuns the cameras during post-match interviews, forcing backroom staff to speak on his behalf.

But the racing-loving footy boss was so delighted to see his 5-2 horse – What a Friend – romp home to victory in the Totesport Bowl that finally let his guard down for the BBC.

Radio 5 Live’s Cornelius Lysaght spotted him in the winners’ enclosure so stuck a microphone under his nose and asked: “Well done Sir Alex, how about that?”

Sounding ironically horse, Sir Alex replied: “I’m very, very pleased, it’s fantastic and we’re excited.

“It’s great, the racing game, because every fence you’re jumping yourself and that’s the great beauty of it.

“It’s fantastic, I’ve had a lot of great winners but to win a race of this magnitude and class is fantastic.

“It’s a young horse and our aim is to go to the Gold Cup.”

The racetrack win came less than 24 hours after his Manchester United team were dumped out of the Champions’ League by Germans Bayern Munich.

“We’ve got to move on”

And asked how he felt after the disappointing result at Old Trafford, Sir Alex finally spoke about football to the BBC.

He said: “Well of course life is like that.

“Every day is a different day.

“You have you disappointments but you’ve got to get on.

“No one died last night, that’s the important thing and we’ve got to move on.”

Surprised to have collared Fergie into an interview, horseracing commentator Lysaght sounded proud of his achievement.

He told presenter Richard Bacon: “Apparently we should look in the record books and look at when Sir Alex last spoke live to a BBC microphone.

“He’s a different man.

“He is renowned on the football pitch for the hairdryer treatment and saying rude things about Germans but on the racecourse he’s noticeably relaxed.

“These football guys love coming to the races don’t they.”

Bacon congratulated his colleague, added: “You got him and you had a good chat with him, well done.

“It was quite an exciting moment.”

Sir Alex previously spoke out about rumours investigated by a BBC documentary in 2004, called Father and Son, about his son Jason.

“A horrible attack”

It was claimed Jason Ferguson got his father to bully young players into employing him as an agent.

Sir Alex said previously: “They did a story about my son that was whole lot of nonsense.

“It was all made-up stuff and brown paper bags and all that kind of carry-on.

“It was a horrible attack on my son’s honour and he should never have been accused of that.

“I think the BBC is the kind of company that never apologise and they never will apologise.

“They are arrogant beyond belief.”

He co-owns seven year-old chaser What a Friend with pal Ged Mason.

The horse is now 10-1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup next March.