WASHINGTON — Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has always been a fan of former US national team head coach Bob Bradley. And the Scotsman’s support did not waiver when he was asked to comment on Bradley’s firing in Thursday’s press conference ahead of the Red Devils’ next World Football Challenge match vs. FC Barcelona on Saturday at FedEx Field (7 pm ET; ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
“It’s disappointing,” Ferguson said from the club’s team hotel. “I think he’s done a fine job. He’s always been a diligent, honest worker. I think that the achievement of taking his team to the World Cup finals will not be forgotten. Obviously, at this moment in time, it’s disappointing.”
Ferguson was outspoken last year in his backing of Bradley for the manager’s post at English Premier League club Fulham FC, when rumors swirled about the London club’s interest in taking on the USA coach at the time.
“I know he’s been linked to the Fulham job and I don’t think it’s beyond his boundaries at all,” Ferguson told media at the All-Star press conference in Houston last year. “He’s a young man. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him seeking a challenge in Europe or England, for that matter.
“I’m surprised the USA have not sprinted to his house to get him a new contract. I think that what he’s achieved with the USA has been very good.”
Bradley eventually signed on with the US Soccer Federation for a new four-year cycle on August 30, 2010, but on Thursday saw that spell interrupted by a dismissal just seven months into his fifth year, just a few weeks after a runners-up finish in the latest CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“I think he’d do well [in England], I like Bob,” Ferguson said last year. “I like his approach. I think he’s got a steely determination about him. I think he’s done a fantastic job.”
The powers at the US Soccer Federation clearly did not share the same opinion.