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Ferguson Treats Worthy Cup with Disdain!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 06/11/2001

SIR ALEX FERGUSON has warned Arsenal not to take Grimsby Town lightly even though he himself treated Arsenal lightly by playing a team of youngsters who, watched by Town Manager Lennie Lawrence, were thrashed 4-0 resulting in Arsenal going through to meet the Mariners in the next round.

These tactics by Ferguson have made a big difference to the money Town might have got if Man U had played a proper team and made a game of it. That was not the case and despite Ferguson bleating the opposite, his contempt for the Worthington cup competition, is clearly illustrated by his actions. But as they are the mighty Manchester United, the FA will not take action against them.

"You don't come to Highbury and be glad to be out. Said Ferguson. It's disappointing for us. The competition has got a lot of merits and whoever gets to Cardiff, the tournament has to be treated seriously. A final's a final."

"You have to use this cup in the proper way. We don't try to degrade the tournament."

The difference in cash terms is that Town might have received a £300,000 payout from a sell-out match at Old Trafford. Instead, they will pocket around £125,000 for a game at Highbury according to the Grimsby Telegraph.

Ferguson said of Grimsby: "I think the competition has given smaller sides like Grimsby a chance. I saw them against Liverpool when I watched the highlights on TV and, Christ, they did well. Theyll bring a big support and they'll be throwing haddies at them! But you can never discount it. Arsenal will have to think carefully about what they do, while we are down the road."

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger on the other hand fielded a team with first team players in it and will probably do the same against Grimsby saying: "We'll treat it as seriously as we did tonight for United. It was an important game for us. Everybody comes here to beat you but we had to show that we can win here after Sunday's defeat."

"But it is always like that It is the Championship, the Champions League, the FA Cup and then the Worthington Cup. We want to win every cup but priorities, of course, are like that."

Another problem for Town fans is that only 5,258 tickets priced at £19 each (£9.50 for concessions)have been allocated to Grimsby which is less than half that they would have got at Old Trafford.

A great number of these are expected to be taken up by season ticket holders and then to fans holding the counterfoils from the Watford, Birmingham City and Norwich City games which means that a great number of Town supporters are going to be disappointed.

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