The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Alex fears for counterparts
- United manager terms treatment dished out to now-hospitalised West Ham boss ‘disgraceful’

London: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson says he fears for the health and safety of his Premier League counterparts after what he called the “disgraceful” treatment dished out to West Ham United boss Glenn Roeder.

Roeder, who has fought a season-long relegation battle with West Ham, collapsed shortly after Monday’s 1-0 victory against Middlesbrough and remains in a London hospital after suffering a minor stroke.

Tests revealed he had a blocked blood vessel in his brain.

During the Middlesbrough match at Upton Park, he was constantly booed by disgruntled home fans, while earlier that day a bottle was reportedly thrown through a window at his home.

“I bet there’s a lot of guilty people down at West Ham after what happened to Glenn,” Ferguson was quoted as saying in Britain’s Sunday newspapers. I didn’t know his house had been attacked before last Monday’s game — Jesus Christ, what’s it all coming to.

“We associate these things with South America. We’ve had referees shot over there and even players getting killed, as in the case of the Colombian Andres Escobar after the 1994 World Cup.

“When you start to see that type of thing happening here, you start to worry.

“West Ham beat Middlesbrough but I understand Glenn was still getting abuse during and after the game — that’s disgraceful.”

While shocked by Roeder’s case, Ferguson believes managers are increasingly at risk from the pressures in the game and partly blames the “aggressive edge” that has crept into society.

“There’s no doubt the pressures (on managers) are greater than they’ve ever been,” he said. “The Media don’t help because everything is in the spotlight and hyped up, but the changes in society contribute too.

“There’s a great photo in a Manchester United book of the 60s and 70s of a melee between United and Leeds players at Elland Road.

“The players are punching each other and strips are being ripped off — but, if you look at the crowd, they are motionless, there’s no reaction.

“Could you imagine the crowd being motionless now' There would hatred on people’s faces and all sorts, but there seems to be an aggressive edge to everyone’s life now.”

Ferguson, who takes his side to Tottenham Hotspur later on Sunday hoping to open up a five-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, has come through his own trials at Manchester United.

This week, he came under fire from fans and pundits after leaving England captain David Beckham on the bench for the Champions League quarter -final second leg against Real Madrid.

But he says he has his own way of dealing with the stress attached to the highest-profile club manager’s job in England.

“There are very few managers who survive in this game as long as I have done,” said Ferguson, who has been in charge at Old Trafford for almost 17 years.

“It’s all about how you handle the pressure and I have always been of the opinion that nobody can put more pressure on me than I do. You can either feel sorry for yourself when things go wrong or do something about it. I’ve always chosen the second option.”

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