Sir Alex Ferguson has banned numerous newspapers and reporters during his time at Old Trafford, so what is two more to the list after he told the Daily Mail and The Independent that they cannot attend his press conferences?
What is the worth of his insistence that Wayne Rooney will still be a Manchester United player next season when Ferguson said the same about David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roy Keane? These are the flourishes of a manager in complete control of his surroundings, but not the end of the story itself.
Ferguson's success as a manager is based, beyond the ferocious work ethic and passion for the game, upon a calculating mind. He makes bold decisions and immediately moves on. Dropping Rooney to the bench for the Champions League game against Real Madrid was shaped by Ferguson's belief that the player would not enhance the team by starting the game. To the manager, that is a simple decision. What followed was Ferguson manipulating the scenario for Manchester United's gain.
Now, having been so publicly rebuked, Rooney has a point to prove, and his effectiveness in the Barclay's Premier League is undeniable. Ferguson is already planning beyond the end of the season, though. The player has two years left on his £250,000-a-week contract, the manager has made several pointed remarks about his fitness, and informed reports say the club are willing to sell.
If Ferguson trusted Rooney to be his starting centre-forward, he would not have signed Robin van Persie last summer. Rooney has also played in midfield for United, and that might yet be a solution to this crisis of confidence in the player. The club will not want to continue paying such an exorbitant wage for a player without a regular position in the team, and who has lost the explosive ability to shape matches to his will. Yet Ferguson may be attempting a final bout of psychology, since a renewed Rooney could still be a powerful figure.
"There's absolutely no problem," the United manager said. "He will be here next year, you have my word on that. There are no issues at all with the player. He'll be involved on Sunday [against Chelsea in the FA Cup], no doubt about that. To suggest we don't talk is nonsense. He understood the reasons [for being on the bench against Madrid] completely."
It is more likely Ferguson's patience is close to being exhausted. He pushed for the Glazers to sanction Rooney's wage rise when the player demanded a move to Manchester City in 2010, yet Rooney returning to training last summer out of condition would have infuriated the manager.
Paris St-Germain were keen on signing Rooney last summer, but were rebuffed. The player hankers after Barcelona, if he has to leave, but the Spanish side have shown no interest. So United need to find a buyer or be satisfied the player can still contribute to a team in which he cannot be guaranteed a starting place.
The conclusion will be determined by Ferguson, who retains his absolute power at Old Trafford.