Classless situation at Man U

KEITH BRADFORD -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 6:59 AM ET

You can buy Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy, but you can't buy class.

If you could, Manchester United would have it in truckloads.

But they don't. In fact, there's barely enough there to fill a cycle pannier.

That's why an ugly display of petulance after a United loss - or even a draw these days - is about as common a sight as Ferraris in the players' parking lot.

But Fergie-worship has got so out of control that no one even notices when one of the world's biggest clubs is doing its best impression of a school bully.

Humility just doesn't live around Old Trafford anymore.

And that's sad when the Red Devils play host to a club like Exeter - which is about 100 places below it in league rankings.

The south-coast club, up to its eyeballs in debt - and currently playing in the traditionally semi-pro Nationwide Conference - was drawn against Fergie and co. in the FA Cup.

With a performance full of heart if not natural talent, it managed to hold the former Premiership champions to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

Fergie was initially gracious, praising the 9,000 Exeter fans who had cheered on their team.

But he went on to blame swirling winds for his side's poor performance. And then he apologized to Red Devils fans for what he called "the worst performance we have ever produced in the FA Cup.''

And so, once again it was all about United. Not the opposing team, which just happened to play out of its skin and produce one of the greatest stories in the FA Cup's glorious history.

Fergie has spent the last few days telling everyone that his big stars will be recalled to pummel poor Exeter in next week's replay.

But thankfully, Exeter has been busy reminding him that the playing surface won't exactly be a field of dreams.

"The ground staff do a remarkable job to get the pitch as playable as it is,'' Exeter chairman Dr. David Treharne told England's Sun newspaper.

"But even so, I wouldn't advise United players to wear their best Gucci loafers to this game.''

FINDERS, KEEPERS: Speaking of loafers, Arsenal's Jens "I never make mistakes'' Lehmann finally looks to be on his way out of the club after coach Arsene Wenger decided his keeper wasn't a keeper.

If you know what I mean.

But Arsene has apparently decided against buying an expensive replacement - which will prove to be an even more expensive mistake if it costs them the Champions League.

Then the only one who'll be laughing all the way to the bank is Lehmann, who has promised to see out his three-year multi-million-dollar contract - warming the bench.


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