Ferguson resolves Ferdinand row
Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to offer Rio Ferdinand a one-year contract extension after resolving his communication breakdown with the Manchester United defender.
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5. Rio Ferdinand
Ferguson was furious with Ferdinand on Saturday when the 33-year-old defied his order to wear a T-shirt backing the Kick It Out anti-racism campaign.
However, the pair held clear-the-air talks at United's Carrington training HQ on Sunday, during which Ferdinand put forward a "compelling argument" for why he adopted his solo stance.
As a former shop steward, Ferguson remains committed to the idea of collective action, and also did not take kindly to being undermined in such a public way.
However, with their respective positions aired, the United boss is more than happy to concentrate on Ferdinand's attributes on the field.
"Rio can play for two or three years," said Ferguson.
"He has different issues from Paul (Scholes) or Ryan (Giggs) in terms of injuries over the last couple of years.
"He is not as quick as he was but that is not a big problem because his experience is important.
"He is still a great footballer and, even at 33, there is no reason why he can't stay on.
"We have always adopted that policy of offering one-year contracts, so we will see as the season progresses.
"I didn't even realise his contract was up. You are making me panic."
It was not panic that made Ferguson react the way he did on Saturday.
The central component of his entire managerial philosophy is that his word is law.
At 70, it is hardly an opinion that is going to change.
And rather than back down from their respective positions, it seems the Carrington summit resulted in an amicable agreement to disagree, with Ferguson insisting any issues Ferdinand has over the FA's handling of John Terry's racism case with brother Anton should be taken up with the governing body directly.
"I spoke to Rio," said Ferguson.
"The issue is pretty simple. There was a communication problem.
"He felt I should have spoken to him on Friday and I didn't anticipate there would be any problem in the dressing room as far as the T-shirt was concerned.
"I have listened to the conviction of Rio and I think it is quite compelling. I can understand his stance.
"But I think you are always stronger as a union. There's more solidarity than as a single unit.
"The advice I would give is that he should take it up with the proper authorities. It is only through that he will make his voice heard.
"Obviously as the manager of the club when you lay down policy you don't want to see it being ignored. That's where my anger came on Saturday.
"But we have resolved the situation, there are no lingering problems and we move on. That is the end of the matter."
Anxious that his selection should not be viewed as any kind of punishment, Ferguson broke with tradition by confirming Ferdinand and skipper Patrice Evra would not be in his starting line-up for Tuesday night's Champions League encounter with Braga at Old Trafford.
Instead the pair are set to be replaced by Scott Wootton and Alex Buttner as Ferguson schemes for the tough domestic challenges that await.
"Tomorrow, so your false teeth don't fall out, I am not playing Rio," he said.
"We have a game at Chelsea on Sunday at Chelsea, which is a big one for us, so we will leave two of the older players, Rio and Patrice Evra, out tomorrow."