We would like to present the facts because that is important to present the facts as we understand them.
(Chief executive) David Gill had a preliminary talk with his agent at the end of last season and it was to be continued after the World Cup. He told me he was on his way over from Carrington and said ‘I have some bad news for you.’
His agent has intimated that he wouldn’t be signing a contract and wanted away. It was a shock.
I couldn’t believe it, as in earlier discussions, as early as March, he intimated he wanted to stay and sign a long contract, he was happy at the best club in the world and I was very terribly disappointed as we couldn’t quite understand it.
I had a meeting with him and he intimated to me in his own way that he wanted to leave.
By then, we had a discussion about the whole situation and I said: ‘The one thing I want from you Wayne is to honour and respect the club’s position and its traditions and behave like a proper professional and we’ll try and see it through.’
Although I did say, and David Gill has intimated, there is an offer there if he is prepared to accept it. It’s an offer we’ve never gone into any financial discussion, i.e., money wise.
But, I know David was prepared to offer him a contract that would be difficult to better elsewhere.
That’s what we do with top players, we’ve no problem with that. We’ve been facing these problems for quite a while now.
Contract issues in the last 10 years, as probably every one knows in this room, have accelerated to become quite phenomenal.
However, the area which has created a lot of the mystery about it is this issue with his injury.
First of all I must tell you I’ve never had an argument with Wayne at any time. He got an ankle injury in the Rangers game, he was seen clearly hobbling about before half-time.
He actually confirmed it himself in an interview with Sky. I spoke to him before the --> -->Sunderland --> --> game and my planning was, based on fact he wasn’t playing that well, was to leave him out of the Sunderland game, make sure his ankle is properly prepared for the next game and give him a 10-day recovery so he could play for England.
My hope was that with planning for England at Wembley he could recapture his form and we could kick on.
His entry into the mixed zone at Wembley has created that next stage we have had to deal with � i.e. he said he wasn’t injured.
That was disappointing as we know full well he was carrying an injury. We sent him for a scan and that showed a minor defect in terms of the ankle injury, nothing serious, but needed treatment and he has had treatment. As we know that, no argument.
We’ve got to a stage now where I feel that we still have to keep the door open to him as he is such a good player.
We’ve done nothing but help him since he came to the club and that is another mystery. We’ve helped him with his private life and other matters.
He’s not the only one that gets that privilege as we do that with all players, no matter who it is. It is part of our job here that we look after our players which creates a tremendous loyalty that has always been the foundation of our club.
So, we’re as bemused as anyone can be as we can’t quite understand why he would want to leave a club that no-one can deny is one of the most successful in British football.
We’ve won more than 40 trophies, reached countless cup finals, have a fantastic history, great stadium, great training arrangements, incredible romance and we don’t understand it.
I can’t answer any question about why is he doing it. You can speculate and have opinions and it won’t matter a dickey bird simply because the player is adamant he wants to leave.
We have to deal with the next part of that which we will do as best we can in relation to his request. I can do no more than we have said at the moment because, in my mind, we still have the door open and who knows
SIR ALEX FERGUSON
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