Sir Alex Ferguson reacted to the prospect of up to eight Manchester United players being named in the England squad for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers by saying that it was time the FA stopped treating his club "like shit".
The Manchester United manager, who was given a five-match touchline ban for criticising the referee during the 2-1 defeat at Chelsea last season, has long argued that the champions are punished more harshly than their rivals.
However, with Fabio Capello more reliant than ever on his footballers, Ferguson believes it is time United were given fairer treatment.
"It is fantastic," he said when asked whether as many as eight of his players could be in the squad the England manager selects to face Bulgaria and Wales. "The FA may realise who has produced more players for their country than any other club in the world.
"Maybe they will get some joy from it and realise how important we are to England instead of treating us like shit."
Their manager's antipathy towards the FA's disciplinary procedures is shared throughout Old Trafford, where it is contrasted with the club's disciplinary record in European competitions. Unlike Arsène Wenger or Jose Mourinho, Ferguson has very rarely fallen foul of Uefa.
The two-match ban imposed on Wayne Rooney for swearing into a TV camera that cost him his place in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City caused United particular grief.
In June, Manchester United's chief executive, David Gill, who is an FA board member, commented they had suffered "poorish decisions that would not necessarily have hit other clubs". Gill said the FA wanted to prove their disciplinary muscle by targeting the country's biggest club.
...United not top of table
Sir Alex Ferguson said yesterday that Manchester Unuited had produced more England players than any other, but since 2000 Arsenal have developed the most.
Nine - Arsenal (Tony Adams, David Bentley, Jay Bothroyd, Andy Cole, Ashley Cole, Kieran Gibbs, Martin Keown, Ray Parlour, Jack Wilshire)
Eight - Manchester United (David Beckham, Wes Brown, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville, Gary Neville, Kevin Richardson, Paul Scholes, Danny Welbeck) - West Ham United (Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Ince, Glen Johnson, Frank Lampard, Bobby Zamora, Paul Konchesky)
Six - Liverpool (Jamie Carragher, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Steve McManaman, Michael Owen, Stephen Warnock - Leeds (Scott Carson, James Milner, Aaron Lennon, Paul Robinson, Alan Smith, Jonathan Woodgate)
Five - Tottenham (Nicky Barmby, Sol Campbell, Ledley King, Ian Walker, Luke Young)
Four - Everton (Michael Ball, Francis Jeffers, Gavin McCann, Wayne Rooney)
Three - Aston Villa (Gabriel Agbonlahor, Gary Cahill, Darrius Vassell) - Crewe Alexandra (Dean Ashton, Seth Johnson, Danny Murphy) - Chelsea (Carlton Cole, Graeme Le Saux, John Terry) - Manchester City (Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Micah Richards) - Blackburn (James Beattie, David Dunn, Jason Wilcox) - Charlton (Lee Bowyer, Scott Parker, Jermain Defoe) - Ipswich (Darren Bent, Kieron Dyer, Richard Wright) - Southampton (Wayne Bridge, Alan Shearer, Theo Walcott)
Two - Nottingham Forest (Michael Dawson, Jermaine Jenas) - Middlesbrough (Stewart Downing, Adam Johnson) - Newcastle United (Andy Carroll, Alan Thompson) - Norwich (Robert Green, Danny Mills) - Watford (David James, Ashley Young) - Crystal Palace (Chris Powell, Gareth Southgate)
One - Portsmouth (Darren Anderton) - Bristol Rovers (Nigel Martyn) - Bury (David Nugent) - Baldock Town (Kevin Phillips - Walsall (Michael Ricketts) - Chesterfield (Kevin Davies) - Wigan (Leighton Baines) - West Brom (Ugo Ehiogu) - Brighton (Gareth Barry) - Stoke (Ben Foster) - Port Vale (Anthony Gardner) - Bayern Munich (Owen Hargreaves) - Shrewsbury (Joe Hart) - Sunderland (Jordan Henderson) - Leicester (Emile Heskey) - Derby (Tom Huddlestone) - Sheff Utd (Phil Jagielka) - Gillingham (Matt Jarvis) - Birmingham (Andy Johnson) - Coventry (Chris Kirkland) - Fulham (Zat Knight) - Wolves (Joleon Lescott) - Millwall (Teddy Sheringham) - Leyton Orient (Nicky Shorey) - Peterborough (David Seaman) - Blackpool (Trevor Sinclair) - Luton (Matthew Upson) - Wimbledon (Dennis Wise) - Queen’s Park Rangers (Peter Crouch)
Note: Players included who have won caps since 1.1.2000.
Clubs determined by which contributed most to player’s youth development. Where players have moved clubs between 14-18 their previous club is included when the move involved a compensatory fee. On this basis Jermain Defoe is listed under Charlton, Gareth Barry under Brighton, etc. Micah Richards is listed under Manchester City as he joined them at 14, but Oldham will receive a percentage of any sell-on fee.
Compiled by James Charlton and Owen Rawlings
Big BBC moment a turn-off
When you have waited seven years to ask a question, it had better be of Paxman-esque quality. The BBC, granted an audience with Sir Alex Ferguson for the first time since 2004, did not, sadly, repeat Jeremy Paxman's opening gambit to Kenny Dalglish: "Are you a big girl's blouse?" The BBC's question yesterday was about the quality of United's young players compared to the Beckham generation. And it received a polite and lengthy answer from their new best friend Mr Ferguson.
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