As a former Scottish amateur lightweight boxing champion, Aberdeen-based freelance journalist and broadcaster, Frank Gilfeather, has his weekly column in the Evening Express labelled as …'The column that packs a punch’.
For this week's column, Gilfeather, who is currently visiting his grandchildren in Singapore, wrote: “There is something unattractive about a powerful person trying to belittle someone before a gathering of people.
“Sir Alex Ferguson’s retort to a perfectly reasonable query on which of the Barcelona players he would most like to sign for Manchester United – ‘that’s one of the stupidest questions I have ever heard’ lacked dignity and class.
“It followed on from the press conference when he told his media officer to ban a journalist for daring to ask a civil a straight question about Ryan Giggs.
“Does he have difficulty with those who stand up to him?”
Gilfeather could have answered this question himself.
In the halcyon days, in the 1980s, when Aberdeen FC, under Ferguson, were sweeping all before them in Scotland and Europe – culminating in winning the European Cup-Winners Cup in 1983 – Gilfeather was Grampian TV’s sports correspondent and covered the Dons on their European soccer safaris.
One Saturday evening, at Pittodrie, after another Dons home win, Sir Alex was personally dispensing drinks to a large pack of media hacks in the wee press room in the bowels of the stadium.
Suddenly, and without warning, he rounded on Gilfeather, about a recent TV report.
But the famous Fergie ‘hairdryer’ treatment did not faze Frank, who politely suggested to the manager that if he wished to discuss a complaint, this was not the appropriate forum, and they should perhaps step outside and discuss it privately in a quiet place.
At this juncture, no more was said; as the assembled hacks, sedately sipping their drinks, silently awarded their colleague a points win.