United manager says he will not be fined over his BBC boycott

Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday took up a defiant stance in his determination to refuse interviews with the BBC, declaring that he would not face a fine from the Premier League on the issue.

"I don't think that's the case," Ferguson said, when questioned for the first time on the issue, ahead of the Premier League board meeting at which the league will consider imposing fines for the manager's resolute refusal to speak to the corporation.

Manchester United do not believe Ferguson can be fined personally as the league can only impose financial penalties on member clubs, rather than individuals, and since they are ready to stand by the manager and pay out whatever financial penalties may come their way, Ferguson was right. Personally, he will not be fined. He has no intention of meeting the league's requests.

Ferguson also maintained a resolute outlook in the face of Chelsea's race to a position four points clear of his own side. The United manager, who revealed that his club had been approached by Joe Cole's agent this summer but that "it was maybe just complicated to get involved in that," said Carlo Ancelotti's side had benefited from a "very easy, early start to the season." Chelsea had, nonetheless, "had a good start," he added. "You can only do what you can do with the games you've got. You've got to address them. Every game in the Premier League has its own complications and difficulties and addressing them the right way is how you get the results. Our form, I think, has been very good."

Ferguson clarified a position he left unclear on Tuesday by confirming that Nemanja Vidic would replace Gary Neville as first-team captain even when Rio Ferdinand was fit.

After the internecine strife of the Rafael Benitez years, the arrival of Roy Hodgson's Liverpool delivered some unusual bonhomie to yesterday's pre-match press conference. The two men have always got on, Ferguson having first met Sunday's adversary in Malmo in 1987, when he arrived to watch the side Hodgson was then managing play Ajax in a European Cup tie. "I think on one of these trips to Malmo they aborted the game after one minute," Ferguson reflected. "It was a European tie against Ajax and he was at the game and we went to dinner after it."

There was also some ribaldry between the two when Hodgson took the Liverpool job this summer. "I spoke to him," Hodgson revealed. "In a jocular way I asked whether now that I've taken the Liverpool job that we don't speak to each other. He didn't put the phone down. He made some cutting remark but I can't remember what it was."

Hodgson said tomorrow's game compares with the Derby d'Italia, Internazionale v Juventus, which he experienced during his brief spell as Inter manager in 1999. "It was the real killer one," Hodgson reflected. "I didn't like losing, which I did quite often. We did poorly and I would like to change that, it'd be nice. Thanks for reminding me!"

Ferguson has received positive news about Owen Hargreaves, whose American surgeon Dr Richard Steadman disclosed yesterday was "close to playing fitness" following prolonged treatment in Colorado. Dr Steadman added that Hargreaves' injury was a complex and serious one, but he is pleased with the midfielder's response to treatment, and determination to strengthen himself. "The problem was with the tendon attached to the patella on each knee, which is difficult to resolve," he said. "After the surgery, the key was rest and working hard on recovery. Owen has spent a lot of time with us here and he has never given up."

Ferguson also suggested that Antonio Valencia might be back as soon as February following his surgery for an ankle break on Tuesday night.

For his part, Hodgson said he was unsure whether Liverpool fans attempting to provoke Wayne Rooney would work against his side. "They are things that football managers and coaches can do nothing about," he said. "I understand the concern but I can only work on things and deal with things which are within my grasp, and fans winding opponents up and that working against you is out of my control so I just have to wait and see what happens."

News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
newsTV star had been reported missing
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone