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Football: Angry Kidd responds to Ferguson `insults'

SIR ALEX FERGUSON was under attack yesterday from Brian Kidd, his former assistant at Manchester United. Kidd, who left Old Trafford last season to become manager of beleagured Blackburn Rovers, is furious that Ferguson suggested that he was insecure and a moaner in his new autobiography.

In the book, Managing My Life, Ferguson claims that Kidd was unhappy at United and was complaining behind his back to chief executive Martin Edwards. The United manager also stated that his No 2 was insecure and warned against his self belief and judgement of players.

But yesterday the normally mild-mannered Kidd responded angrily: "I believe Walt Disney is trying to buy the film rights to the book as a sequel to Fantasia. After working with a person for over 10 years, you get to know a lot about them personally and privately. I've chosen to respect that relationship. Clearly he hasn't.

"I've more important and pressing things than that. I have work to do here. If you go down the road of `he said that, and she said that', it's laughable. What do you tell your kids? I'm struggling for words, but I don't feel I have to justify myself.

"The way I was brought up by my parents from the streets of Collyhurst means that I don't start belly-aching. You take your knocks and you get up and get on with it. Don't explain and never complain. It doesn't hurt me what has been said. I know. I'm at ease with myself. You can kid everybody - but you can't kid yourself."

Perhaps the most damaging claim in the book was that Kidd was not enthusiastic about the signing of Dwight Yorke and wanted John Hartson instead.

Kidd would not be drawn on the Hartson story but I understand the former West Ham striker was recommended by him.

This public slanging match is merely confirmation that Ferguson and Kidd have fallen out seriously since their split last December. Ferguson and his family no longer speak to Kidd and his. At one time they were very close.

The pair have hardly spoken and had just one brief, cold handshake when United's victory consigned Blackburn to the First Division.

United were trying again yesterday to persuade Roy Keane to sign a new contract. The United director and solicitor Maurice Watkins, who is handling the negotiations for the club, was due to speak to Keane's lawyer and adviser Michael Kennedy, and United are still optimistic that Keane will pledge his future to Old Trafford. The United captain, whose current deal expires next summer, wants a reported pounds 40,000 a week to stay.

The Football Association has rejected suggestions that Manchester United will play in the FA Cup, after a report yesterday suggested the treble winners would be offered a new chance to defend the Cup by being allowed to drop out of the Worthington Cup and have the Premiership season extended.

"Despite what reports say, the situation remains the same as it was," an FA spokesman, Adrian Bevington, said.