Manchester United’s preparations for Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash with Arsenal have been left in turmoil after Alex Ferguson slapped a training ground ban on himself and vowed never to speak to himself again.
A row erupted at the Carrington training ground between Ferguson and himself after midfield pair Nani and Anderson delayed a planned free kick routine to perform impromptu sack and crack waxes on one another.
Ferguson initially rounded on the duo for ignoring Dimitar Berbatov, who had stood in the centre circle with arms outstretched, pleading for an emergency eyebrow wax.
“Human beings can always surprise you but I didn’t expect that. It was shocking. Berba had a fucking unibrow, for fuck’s sake,” remarked Ferguson later.
But shocked bystanders were soon amazed when Ferguson turned the hairdryer treatment on himself.
“You come on with some nonsense, so you do. Youse are a fucking idiot. Nani knows what he’s doing. It would simply have been unhygienic to treat Berba after that stuff had been up Anderson’s bottle and glass.”
Ferguson was already thought to be upset with himself having allowed just 15 minutes injury time at the end of the first half of the morning training match.
The game had been held up for some time as Gary Neville sought player signatures on a petition urging Gordon Brown to declare another war on Argentina.
“Neville’s conduct has been perfect,” insisted Ferguson. “I was a disgrace, an insult to the five-a-side.”
At the Emirates on Sunday, Ferguson is expected to relay messages to himself via assistant Mike Phelan, provided Phelan can be kept awake for the entire 90 minutes.
More problematic will be the 15 minutes each morning while Ferguson waits for his eggs to boil, a period during which he tends to speak to himself incessantly.
Sources close to the Ferguson household suggest Mrs Ferguson might be willing to be drawn into conversation with her husband to fill the void.
But Ferguson himself has giving no indication that he is willing to lift a ban on speaking to his wife, in place since 1996 after some veiled criticism about not taking out the bins.