NEWS
08/25/2011 10:20 EDT | Updated 10/25/2011 05:12 EDT

Man United manager Alex Ferguson ends 7 years of refusing to speak to the BBC

LONDON - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson seems to have crossed at least one name off his list of soccer enemies.

The famously fiery Ferguson has finally agreed to be interviewed by the BBC, ending a seven-year boycott of the venerable British broadcaster over an investigation into his son.

The most successful manager in English soccer history — who at one point even threatened to ban his club's own official TV channel — Ferguson has snubbed "the Beeb" since a 2004 documentary in which it questioned the activities of agent Jason Ferguson.

That meant no appearances on Match of the Day — the weekend highlights show that has become a national institution since it was first broadcast in 1964 — no radio interviews and fleeting comment only for general tributes to United legends.

Ignoring warnings from the Premier League, Ferguson would send his assistants to handle post-match duties with the BBC — even when fines were introduced last season for managers refusing to be interviewed.

But United said Thursday that a meeting between Ferguson and BBC director general Mark Thompson had resolved the issue.

"Sir Alex Ferguson and the BBC have decided to put behind them the difficulties which led to Sir Alex feeling unable to appear on BBC programs," United said. "The issues have been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties."

United refused to elaborate upon the nature of the meeting and did not confirm whether Ferguson got the apology he had been holding out for.

In 25 years at United, Ferguson has regularly banned media organizations from the club over some perceived slight.

No one is safe.

The Scot even threatened to ban Manchester United's own official TV channel in 2002 after criticism of Ferguson and his team featured in an interview with a former player.

But the profile and history of the BBC meant this particular standoff was always going to attract attention.

The BBC documentary, Father and Son, suggested that Jason Ferguson exploited his father's position to make money from player transfers.

"They did a story about my son that was whole lot of nonsense," Ferguson said in 2007. "It was a horrible attack on my son's honour and he should never have been accused of that."

Without an apology, Ferguson had imposed what was said to be a lifetime boycott.

"I think the BBC is the kind of company that never apologize and they never will apologize," Ferguson said. "They are arrogant beyond belief."

But Ferguson will now join the other 19 Premier League managers in making himself available for post-match interviews.