Former Manchester United player Paddy Crerand in radio outburst over Rio Ferdinand coin incident

Former midfielder furious that Ferdinand could be blamed in any way for incident

Former Manchester United midfielder Paddy Crerand was involved in an astonishing outburst on national radio this morning as he reacted angrily to the suggestion that Rio Ferdinand could in any way have provoked Manchester City fans with his celebration of United's winner in yesterday's derby.

Ferdinand appeared to be hit by a coin following Robin van Persie's late goal at the Etihad Stadium and City goalkeeper Joe Hart also had to prevent a supporter from confronting the United defender.

It was put to Crerand during an interview on BBC Radio Five Live that listeners had called and texted the show to suggest that players should tone down their celebrations in front of opposition fans, but Crerand was disgusted by the insinuation that Ferdinand had any responsibility for the incident and repeatedly challenged the station to say how many people had blamed Ferdinand.

"Who said that? That is ridiculous," Crerand said.

"What planet do they live on? That is absolute garbage. How many people have phoned you up? One, two, three? How many? Why make a statement like that if you haven't got (the number of listeners) to hand...if you haven't got the evidence?"

Asked to respond to the suggestion that Ferdinand could have provoked the attacks, Crerand added: "I think the point is absolutely ludicrous."

At one point Crerand asked interviewer Chris Warburton: "Is this a publicity stunt? Ask me a sensible question and don't talk stupid, asking me daft questions about whether fans should celebrate or not."

Warburton's co-presenter Rachel Burden interjected to suggest to Crerand that there may have been a misunderstanding of the question that had been asked.

Crerand demanded again to know how many people had contacted the show.

"How many texts? A million? Half a million? A hundred thousand?"

Crerand added: "Rio Ferdinand was nowhere near where the home fans were. He gets struck by a coin that someone has thrown from about 15 or 20 yards, it wasn't as if he was standing in front of their supporters jumping up and down."

After Burden asked Crerand a couple of questions, he said: "Why have you changed commentators, why have you come on all of a sudden?"

Crerand was told it was standard for both presenters to contribute questions and Warburton said: "Don't worry, I haven't run scared Paddy."

Crerand later insisted he stood by what he had said in his radio interview.

He said the issue was with a coin being thrown, not the players' reaction, and therefore he was not prepared to add fuel to what he considered was the wrong debate.

"It is a local derby and you are expected to get carried away, particularly after you've come back having been 2-0 up and let it get to 2-2," he told Press Association Sport.

"But they (Five Live) were looking for something sensationalist, they weren't looking for anything sensible.

"They were interested in making it worse than it was.

"They said they had received lots of calls from fans but they couldn't say how many. One of them (Burden) was not even at the game, they didn't even see it."

Crerand condemned the throwing of objects at players.

"What do people think about when they do that?" he added.

"It was stupidity and it shouldn't happen but it is very difficult to find out who threw the coin."

PA

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