Was Ashley Right To Dump 'Gang Of Five'?

Last updated : 28 January 2012 By Footy Mad - Editor


Although Chris Hughton 'encouraged' his clique of players to hold behind-closed-doors meetings, Mike Ashley vowed to smash it.

And today we hear that Alan Smith, the last of that clique, is on his way to MK Dons.

The 'Gang Of Five' - Kevin Nolan, Jose Enrique, Joey Barton, Andy Carroll and Smith - are all gone.

Hughton thought it encouraged a bonding, but when the boss was sacked, the five voiced opinions against the Toon board ... and Ashley doesn't forget.

Sir Alex Ferguson, who has referred to himself as a "phenomenon", also says the manager MUST be the boss.

In an interview with The New York Times, Ferguson was asked if his cup-winning record would be repeated?

Ferguson: "I don't think so. I'm a phenomenon.

"I have certainly mellowed. There's no question about that. It's a more fragile human being that I am dealing with today than 25 years ago.

"They are cocooned by modern ideas, modern parents, modern agents, and they are cocooned by their own image at times.

"It's a different world for me, so I have to change myself to adapt to that. I have changed because of these things.

"One thing I've learned in the last decade is delegation. In the early days, I was involved with scouting, coaching, youth everything. You can't do that for a long period of time.

"You have to remember that the most important person is the manager.

"The minute a footballer becomes more important than the manager, your club is dead. The history of the club goes down the drain. I am the most important man at Manchester United. It has to be that way.

"I have had a great relationship with our owners. They never bother me. They never ask questions, they never phone me and they never interfere with my job. I am in a privileged position.

"I'll give everyone a tip here: retirement is for young people, not older people. Young people can do something else.

"When you're older and you've been on that treadmill for length of time I have been on it, if I get off that treadmill, where do you think I am going? Down there.

"Trust me. Retirement is for young people. When you get older, don't retire."