Ferguson warning for partying Man Utd stars

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has issued a stark warning to his players if they step out of line.

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Ferguson, whose team lost 2-1 at West Ham yesterday, said: "Times have changed but for me, as a manager, what you can't lose is control. When you see anyone interfering with control, they have to go. This club is based on everyone together. When anyone starts going off at tangents, you have to make changes."

The United manager's comments follow the infamous players' Christmas party which infuriated Ferguson and brought the club unwanted headlines around the world.

But they also reflect the determination of Sir Alex to stamp on any player who puts his own interests above that of the club.

The man who has been in charge at Old Trafford for 21 years admitted that it is now harder than ever to maintain a genuine team ethic, with selfishness and exhibitionism increasing in the modern, money-soaked game.

"What annoys me about some footballers today is the personal glory thing," he said.

"They score a goal and knock players out of the road so they can get personal gratification and play to the fans. The present-day footballer needs to be noticed with his ear-rings and tattoos. But people in general need to be noticed. It's not just footballers. They don't go to small, intimate restaurants. They go to places that are big and bright, where you are seen and noticed. It is difficult to control."

Ferguson has declined to comment publicly on the Christmas party but he is believed to have vented his fury on the main organiser, England defender Rio Ferdinand.

Other senior players including club captain Gary Neville, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are also thought to have been left in no doubt as to the manager's opinion of a party which saw 100 women receiving invitations but players' wives and girlfriends excluded.

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