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SAF autobiography: Benitez shouldn't have made it personal

Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been detailing in his autobiography the reason he fell out with then Liverpool counterpart Rafa Benitez. "The mistake he made was to turn our rivalry personal. Once you made it personal, you had no chance, because I could wait. I had success on my side. Benitez was striving for trophies while also taking me on. That was unwise.

On the day he produced his famous list of 'facts' detailing my influence over referees, we received a tip-off that Liverpool would stage manage a question that would enable Benitez to go on the attack. That's not unusual in football. I had been known to plant a question myself.

The media loved it, even though the facts were inaccurate. They were hoping that it would start a war, that I would launch a rocket back. In fact, all I said in reply was that Rafa was obviously bitter about something and that I was at a loss to explain what that might be.

"That was me saying to him: 'Look, you're a silly man.' You should never make it personal.

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Dave Williams

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