• Manchester United manager angered by 2004 documentary
Sir Alex Ferguson is considering abandoning his boycott of the BBC, thus ending one of the oldest grudges of his career, amid growing pressure from the Premier League and the League Managers Association (LMA). The Premier League has written to Manchester United explaining that Ferguson will face a sliding scale of punishments if he continues to ignore Match of the Day and 5 Live. Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the LMA, has had conversations with the Old Trafford manager to try to persuade him to put his grievances to one side.
The talks have been described as delicate and finely poised, with Ferguson dismayed by the idea that he may have to speak to the institution for the first time since a Panorama documentary in 2004, entitled Father and Son, about the business activities of his son Jason, then working as a football agent.
The Premier League has brought in a new rule stipulating that all managers must speak to the broadcasting rights-holders, which include the BBC, and there have been discussions behind the scenes, with Bevan acting as an intermediary to try to talk around one of the most famously stubborn managers in the business.
Ferguson's initial reaction was that he would ignore the new rule, regardless of the consequences, until his family received an apology from the BBC, which he has accused of "breathtaking arrogance".
Since then, however, there have been more high-level talks, with BBC officials and United's chief executive, David Gill, involved. The club are sympathetic to Ferguson's grievances but, behind the scenes, there is a feeling that it is becoming a battle he cannot win – at least if he wants to avoid a series of escalating fines.
Ferguson did break the boycott to present Sir Bobby Robson with a lifetime achievement award on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards programme in 2007, but his opinion about the institution can be gauged from an interview earlier that year.
"The BBC is the kind of company that never apologise, and they never will apologise," he said. "They did a story about my son that was a whole lot of nonsense. It was all made-up stuff, brown paper bags and that kind of carry-on. It was a horrible attack on my son's honour and he should never have been accused of that."
The BBC has tried to initiate talks with Ferguson but with no success. Acutely aware of the delicacy of the situation, it does not expect to receive confirmation about his plans until United's first weekend match of the new league season, against Fulham on 22 August.
However, the Premier League has withdrawn its plans to introduce another rule that could have forced Ferguson to attend post-match press conferences.
For the past seven years Ferguson has been the only manager in the league not to talk to newspaper reporters after league games, giving interviews only to Sky and Manchester United's in-house television station, MUTV. The plan was to make it mandatory for a manager or senior member of the coaching staff to hold a press conference, but that will probably not be introduced until the 2011-12 season.
Thousands attend open trainingAbout 10,000 United fans flocked to Old Trafford on Saturday morning to watch Sir Alex's men be put through their paces ahead of Sunday's Community Shield clash at Wembley.
The Manchester United Foundation's annual open training session gives supporters a rare chance to see their heroes practice at close quarters. And this year fans packed the terraces in North Stand tier 1, raising approximately £30,000 for charity.
It was the first opportunity for locals to glimpse new signings Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling in the flesh, while returning World Cup stars, including Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney, also took part in the 75-minute session.
Evra returned to training today and was instantly tackled by Scholes in a five-a-side,haha. Never change Scholesy.
Someone is happy :)
WARNING: Michael Owen coming up. I was told by a Scouser, pictures of him in a United kit need to be come with a warning ;)
Gary Neville is back <3
Smalling, Rooney and Fabio (?) I think..
Michael Carrick was training so I guess him missing 2 weeks was one of SAF's white lies ;)..