Sir Alex Ferguson fears Fratton Park din will stop him being heard in Manchester United's clash with Portsmouth

By Chris Wheeler for the Daily Mail

Sir Alex Ferguson

Shout, let it all out: Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson fears his attempts to manage Manchester United from a seat in the stands will be frustrated by Portsmouth's noisy supporters at Fratton Park today.

Ferguson begins his two-match touchline ban for criticising referee Alan Wiley's fitness and the United boss admits he could not have been dealt a worse place than Portsmouth to be out of touch with assistant Mike Phelan and the rest of his coaching staff.

The Pompey supporters are vocal enough without No 1 fan John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood and his friends adding to the din with their trumpet and bells close to where Ferguson will be sitting.

'I've got the communication lines for the game in place, but the only problem you have is that Fratton Park is such a noisy place,' he said.

'It's one of those old stadiums and the stand is a bit rickety. The directors' box is towards the home end where all that noise comes from - the drums and whatever the hell they have got going on at that place.'

Ferguson will be allowed in the dressing-room despite the ban, which is good news for United considering the influence Rio Ferdinand claims the manager exerts.

Speaking at a fundraising event at Old Trafford, the United skipper recalled Ferguson's inspirational speech that helped them beat Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow.

Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United

In awe: Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand revealed his boss made an inspirational speech before the 2008 Champions League final win over Chelsea

'I'll never forget it,' said Ferdinand. 'Before the game he just plonked his chair in the middle of the room and started a random conversation totally unrelated to football.

'But it just settled everybody's nerves and before we knew it his talk switched to words of pure inspiration, reminding all the players, whatever you do in life, to achieve your goals. And, of course, it worked. We won the game.

'I was in awe the first time I met Sir Alex and whenever you get new players at the club it's the same. When Michael Owen signed, he told me how he just sat there listening to the gaffer in amazement. That's why he's so successful.'

Defeat in Moscow was Avram Grant's last match in charge of Chelsea and his first as Portsmouth boss also sees him up against Ferguson's side.

Ferguson believes United's penalty shoot-out win in Moscow was not necessarily decisive in Grant's departure from Stamford Bridge, with Luiz Felipe Scolari already on Chelsea's radar.

'They were a penalty kick away from winning the Champions League and they were second in the Premier League, but it may not all be about that,' he said. 'It may be that someone else came on the horizon at the time. Sometimes that can happen.

'It will have been disappointing for Avram, having achieved what he did. But he has got on with his life and never shown any bitterness about what happened. He's handled it well and he will do OK at Portsmouth.

'He's kept in touch with me quite a lot. He'll be glad to get back in and he's got a task because they're bottom of the league.

'But I'm sure he'll get the right reaction from his players, so it should be a very hard game for us.'


No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now