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Is Alex Ferguson A Nut?

One of the EPL Talk visitors, Charles Kerr, has emailed an excellent question about English Premier League managers. Rather than answer the question myself, I thought I’d let you, the reader, review it and offer your own expertise by answering the question (just click on the ‘comments’ link below).

Here’s the email and the question:

I’m a new, but passionately rabid, fan of the EPL and Championship League and as I become immersed in the sport I have question that seem difficult to google answers for. Your podcast interview with Oliver Tse answered many of my questions related to EPL TV coverage in the US (sorry to see him phasing out football for poker…) and based on that interview and your various EPL sites, I figure you must know everything about the sport.

Anyway, here’s the question I posted to some soccer buddies:

The day after Manchester United dusted Roma 7-1 at home in their Championship League quarter-final match, I saw Manchester’s coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, in the stands watching the game between their next opponents, AC Milan and Bayern Munich. The game was played in Munich (a bit closer than Milan) and I assume Manchester United has a private plane, but still, Ferguson’s 65 years old and with travel time, traffic, etc. etc. I would think watching this game live must have taken 8-10 hours of his time. Personally, if I were Ferguson, I’d take a nap instead and watch it on tape….I can’t imagine a professional American basketball, football, baseball coach doing something similar. So my question is, is this unusual? Or is soccer such a full field game that Ferguson really gets significantly more out of scouting a team live instead of on tape?Or, is the question the one of filming / video rights? Do European teams share footage with other teams like they do in US professional and college sports? If Manchester had a cameraman up in the top seats (or I suppose, a blimp) filming the game would they get in trouble? Has a team ever been penalized for illegally filming a game?

So is Ferguson a nut, or is this typical of high level EPL and European football coaches? Is it a rights issue?

Thanks for any help or light you can shed on the issue….

We look forward to reading your responses.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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