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Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 11:31 GMT
A sad feud that two clubs must stop

By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger continue a slanging match that must now be stopped - while Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho sits on the sidelines laughing out loud and pouring another glass of red wine.

Sir Alex Ferguson
It's terribly sad to see two greats like Wenger and Ferguon acting like this and strong board members must stop it

This is the scenario we can imagine as Chelsea sit 10 points clear at the Premiership summit while main rivals Ferguson and Wenger tear strips off each other in public.

The feud between Wenger and Ferguson has gone on too long - it is terribly sad to see two such great managers with marvellous track records indulging in this sort of rhetoric.

It is time for strong board members at Old Trafford and Highbury to call their managers together and say 'enough is enough'.

It has turned nasty and there is no place for it in the game.

There used to be a genuine respect between the two men for their achievements on the pitch - that's gone now and has been replaced by naked hostility.

Wenger wants the Football Association to charge Ferguson with bringing the game into disrepute for re-visiting the "Pizzagate" saga after Arsenal's defeat at Manchester United during an interview published at the weekend.

He can forget that - it won't be happening.

What should be happening is Arsenal and United should call their managers in and put a stop to this once and for all.

I used to quite like hearing the two old sparring partners going at it verbally - but now it is no longer interesting, merely damaging.

It makes me wonder what is going to happen when the teams meet at Highbury on 1 February. It is hardly designed to decrease tension.

Mourinho will sit back, laugh out loud and pour another nice glass of red

When United won at Old Trafford, it was a game that fascinated me, but not for the right reasons, given the way everything was conducted, the refereeing from Mike Riley and of course the well-publicised aftermath.

When Ferguson says something, and he gave a very lengthy interview on this subject, it is normally done for a reason.

He is the master - we used to have the master at Liverpool in Bob Paisley, but he used the reverse psychology of praising teams - sometimes not even believing it himself.

But this can't go on any more. When nastiness creeps in it is time to call a halt.

Wenger took Ferguson on for a long time, but it is much easier to win these games when you are sitting top of the table.

This is why Mourinho is more than happy to indulge - listing United's setbacks in the south when Ferguson suggested Chelsea would struggle in the north.

He must be rubbing his hands, especially after yet another clean sheet and victory at Spurs over the weekend.

Chelsea are magnificent defensively, and have such strength in depth, work hard and are so resilient.

Resilience is the key here - they have never really had it in my time in football, but they have got it in abundance now and that's why they can only throw the Premiership title away.

This is what is of more interest than the unseemly squabble between Ferguson and Wenger.

Now it is up to Arsenal and Manchester United to exert their authority and tell their managers to end this feud.

As for Chelsea, the authority they exert is the most important of all - the authority that wins football matches and can win you titles.




VOTE RESULTS
What's your reaction to the row between Wenger and Ferguson?
Entertaining and intriguing
35%
Damaging for them, their clubs and football in general
29%
Couldn't care less!
36%
49904 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Vote now closed






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