Bob Cass, who many of you will be familiar with from his work at the Mail on Sunday, is a renowned journalist that has a close affiliation with Sir Alex Ferguson.
I spoke with Cass about how far he thinks Manchester United are away from winning the Premier League, his relationship with Ferguson, building sources and football blogs like our own.
How far do you think Manchester United are behind Chelsea in terms of winning the Premier League again?
I think United are certainly one season and maybe more away from winning their next title. Much will depend on whether they spend big money a lot wiser than they did last summer when several players failed to come up to expectations.
Thoughts on United sacking Moyes in order to appoint van Gaal?
I thought Moyes was dispensed with too early. Following Sir Alex was always going to be difficult and I believe he should have been given a complete summer in which to prepare for last season. Had things not worked out by Christmas they could have looked at the situation then. Don’t forget Moyes’ two buys Fellaini and Mata became key players for LVG in preference to those he brought to the club.
Journalists come under serious pressure from editors. Is it difficult to build and open contact with reliable sources?
Not if you play by the rules of confidentiality.
It was well documented that you had a good relationship with Sir Alex, although many will relate to the tiff that occurred during the Wesley Sneijder saga on one of the tours in America. How is he getting on with retirement?
The ‘tiff’ over Sneijder was due to a misunderstanding which was sorted out within weeks. It did not harm our relationship at all. As far as I know he is loving retirement; enjoying his leisure as well as maintaining an important link with the club.
Will we see another like him?
Unlikely to matched in terms of accomplishment mainly because the competition is getting tougher ever year. There are still many top class managers in jobs at the moment.
Thanks to social media and blogs like Stretty News, everybody has a platform to voice what they like. A lot of negatives come with that but as a renowned journalist can you see any positives?
Social media puts journalists with poor contacts on the same level with those who are without them. While it affords a platform with the majority of people to air their respected opinions it also encourages loutish behaviour from those with restricted vocabularies.
Just like every profession, you find good and bad. What is the difference between a solid journalist and a terrible one?
There are far more good solid sports journalists than there are poor ones. The best ones are those with the best contacts. Getting exclusive stories will always be the lifeblood of journalism.
For those interested in breaking into the industry, what was your average day like as a journalist?
Making calls and personal visits, often entertaining at lunch or dinner. But most days are pretty uneventful.
Earlier this year the Red Issue fanzine folded. Fergie was well aware of the publication. Did you ever read it/were you a fan?
No I never read it. I was never a United fan but I wished them well when Fergie and Moyes were in charge.
Last but not least, who should United look at bringing in this summer?
I would never speculate or second guess what a top class coach such as Van Gaal would do. If anybody has his finger on the pulse of world football he is. With a limitless budget there can be no excuses if he fails to make the right signings.
You can follow Bob Cass on Twitter – @Bob_Cass.