In a recent interview, Sir Alex Ferguson has apologized to the Newcastle United fans for his belittling words. Stating it was not his intention to insult the fans of the Northeast based club and felt they were some of the best in the world.
After calling Newcastle United a 'wee club in the North' during the aftermath of a thrilling encounter between the Red Devils and Toon Army, Sir Alex Ferguson recently began to backtrack. Renowned for the mind-games he enters with rival managers, Ferguson responded to comments made by Alan Pardew regarding refereeing decisions in the game at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
"Alan Pardew came out and criticised me yet he is the worst at haranguing referees. His whole staff were at it the whole game on Wednesday.
He shoves a linesman and makes a joke of it and yet he's got the cheek to criticise me. It's unbelievable and he forgets the help I gave him.
Anyway, the press made a field day out of it and addressed every possible angle. The only one they left out is [speaking to] Barack Obama!
The unfortunate caveat is I'm at the biggest club in the world not Newcastle, a wee club in the North East. I was demonstrative but not out of order. The press had a field day, it's as simple as that."
These comments, unsurprisingly, did not go down well in Newcastle with fans of the club claiming arrogance and hypocrisy from the trophy-laden manager. However, Ferguson has gone a long way to build bridges with the supporters by stating that NUFC fans are among the best in the world:
"It was never my intention to belittle NUFC fans. I want to clear up any misunderstanding that may have arisen over what I said.
Sadly, results have not matched their loyalty.
If NUFC achievements had matched the support of the people who pay to watch them play, the club would be among the game's giants.
It's tragic that they haven't been able to win a league title for over eighty years."
He went on to claim that he would welcome a future title challenge from the Geordies, expressing his admiration for the 'entertainers' team that took Manchester United all the way to the wire in 1996 and 1997.
"The whole country would like to see a Newcastle team that matched the one in the Keegan era when they took us to the wire."
How these words will sit with the fans of Newcastle United remains to be seen, with tensions between the two already high from previous outbursts, most notably in the 1995/96 season, which resulted in the meltdown of 'King' Kevin Keegan.
"I would love it if we beat them, love it!"