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 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 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 be hatred on people’s faces and all sorts, but there seems to be an aggressive edge to everyone’s life now.” – Reuters