Beckham 'chuffed' and ready to sign

Club's Reaction
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The Independent Football

David Beckams father denied any rift between his son and Sir Alex Ferguson, and said yesterday that he is confident the England captain will follow the United manager's lead and commit himself to a new contract at Manchester United.

"David and all the rest of the players will be chuffed that Sir Alex is staying and I know I am," Ted Beckham said. "David has a great relationship with Sir Alex. People keep going on about this rift between him and Sir Alex – there is no rift.

"There is no problem with his contract. If he signs now or leaves it until after the World Cup, he will still be a Manchester United player.

"People have tried to make a big deal out of it saying he wanted to know who the next manager would be before signing, but that was a figure of speech. Whoever would have taken over from Sir Alex, David would have had to have proved himself. I think a lot of fuss is being made out of this and, as I said, there is no problem with his contract."

Of the news that Sir Alex will be staying, Beckham said: "I am not surprised at all. I just couldn't see him sitting around with his pipe and slippers after all he has put into the game."

The club's French full-back Mickaël Silvestre said he was delighted at the news.

"I don't know how long he's going to stay on, one year more, two years more or whatever, but it's good that I'll continue to work with him," Silvestre said. "He isn't staying to relax himself. This season was supposed to be his last season, but now it's not so.

"We're still in a good position in the Champions' League and the league and we will fight until the end of the season and see what happens. Every season under him we're going to play for everything."

Silvestre said he was taken aback by the announcement. "It was a good surprise," he added. "We didn't expect to know who was coming in before the end of the season. Now we know, and it was announced this morning after training.

"He said: 'It won't be a secret any more so I have to tell you that I'm staying on as manager'. I'm glad he's staying. Since I joined, I have improved a lot. My focus was to play for the French side and to go to the World Cup and he has helped me a lot. He was strong with me and he did his job. When you are no good or when you have to work at something, that's his job to tell you.

"He's very respected – he's more like a father for most of the players because he has known them for more than 10 years."

A former United player, Sammy McIlroy, believes it is a smart move by the club.

"The way I look at it, maybe the board have had a good look and found that there is no one available who they want," the Northern Ireland manager said. "The managers they want are under contract – and they can't get them. In these circumstances, it is ideal for them if Ferguson stays on and keeps things ticking over. "

Shareholders United were thrilled. Their spokesman Oliver Houston said: "We are delighted. Like every other supporter, we always hoped he would stay on, which was one of the reasons why we were so happy when he decided to stay on as a consultant."