Well said Martin Samuels in the Daily Mail! I quote:
"Preston North End had three Manchester United players on loan - until they sacked manager Darren Ferguson.
His dad, Sir Alex Ferguson, instantly recalled Ritchie de Laet and Josh King, and the third, Matty James, is back in Manchester having treatment on an injury and under pressure not to return.
Ferguson's friend Tony Pulis, manager of Stoke City, then ordered an early recall for another two Preston loanees, Michael Tonge and Danny Pugh, both former United youth players.
And there is the loan system in all its shoddy, conniving glory. A glorified old pal's act in which one club maintain influence over, or are influenced by, another, through means that fly against every concept of integrity and fair play.
As it turns out, Manchester United and Stoke's players can't have been all that good because Preston are bottom of the Championship.
De Laet, Pugh, Tonge and King all started Ferguson's final game in charge, in which Preston lost 3-1 at home to Middlesbrough; but suppose the club was mid-table?
United and Stoke's players could have been the difference between survival and relegation. Even now, they may be the difference between Preston still being in touch - they are six points behind 21st-placed Sheffield United with a game in hand - or utterly cut adrift.
The decisions to recall the loaned players may now condemn Preston to relegation by weakening the quality and strength of their squad.
How can football have rules governing third-party interference, yet still allow this?"
How ironic that Shafting United are the immediate beneficiaries of all this, their relegation cause being helped by the spiteful weakening of Preston North End. Of course, there is another way of looking at this. How disgraceful would it have been if Preston were in the running for promotion on the back of an Old Pal's Act from Sir Alex Ferguson and his mates?
There's also a parenting issue here. Whatever happened to letting your kids stand on their own two feet and letting them make their own way in life? How can Ferguson feel any pride in his son's achievements if he pulls so many strings for him? Was there a phone call to the Preston chairman ahead of the appointment promising half a team of loanees if Daddy's little boy was given the manager's job?
Of course, if the friendship of Ferguson and Pulis is as strong as this suggests, it brings into question whether there is third party influence in the Prem itself. Can we feel safe about the conduct of Pulis and Stoke if Man Utd need a result to win the Prem and Stoke have nothing to play for? Well, Ferguson and Curbishley were good mates too weren't they? And look what happened on the last day of the season in the Great Escape year!
Third Party Influence? You either have a rule or you don't! West Ham should put together a case to get the ruling over Tevez overturned or to get others brought to book in the same way.