Feature:

Fifty years of Fergie in football

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated a half-century in football last Saturday.

Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson was born on December 31, 1941 in Govan.

Sir Alex spent his entire playing career in Scottish football. He made his debut for Queen’s Park as a 16-year-old. Fergie scored their only goal in their 2-1 defeat at Stranraer. He later went on to play for St Johnstone, Dunfermline, Rangers, Falkirk and Ayr Utd.

Ferguson qualified as a coach, eight years before he finished playing, in 1966. At Aberdeen, Ferguson became the only manager outside the Old Firm to have won the domestic double. After his success in Scotland he moved to Old Trafford and Manchester United.

Fergie has won 10 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, the League Cup twice, and the Champions League twice with Manchester United.

At United, Fergie became the first manager to win two domestic doubles, in 1994 and 1996.

He is the only manager in history of English football to have won the League, FA Cup and European Cup in the same season.

Of the 1229 games in charge of Manchester United he has won 58 per cent of the times. He is the longest-serving manager in English League football.

Fergie has, during his time at Manchester United, managed to break the British transfer record three times. He signed Andy Cole from Newcastle for £7m, Juan Sebastian Veron from Lazio for £28.1m and Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United for £29m. Veron is probably among the worst signings he has made as United boss.

Ferguson, who marked his Golden Jubilee by beating Stoke on Saturday, has admitted that he cannot believe that it is 50 years since he started his football life.

The 66-year-old said: “I can’t believe I have been in the game 50 years now.

“In those early years I was never quite sure where I was going to go. But that’s life.”

Ferguson has admitted that he could have ended up a tool-maker in Canada as he was tempted by the opportunity to emigrate.

He explained: “I was 21, playing part-time football for Dunfermline and on the point of emigrating to Canada, where my father’s family was to take up the tool-making trade.

“I had done my apprenticeship and, at that time, tool-making was a great trade in Canada and well paid. It was a great country.

“But then things changed. That is fate.”

Fergie’s mind games

Sir Alex is famous for his mind games. One of his most famous was when he, as Aberdeen manager, before the Cup Winners’ Cup Final in 1983 presented Real Madrid boss Alfredo di Stefano with a bottle of whisky. Sir Alex made Di Stefano think that little Aberdeen was starstruck. Aberdeen managed to beat Real Madrid.

Over the years he has had several mind games with Arsene Wenger, Kevin Keegan and the rest of the football world.

The Hairdryer

Ferguson has become well known for his ‘hairdryer treatment’ over the years. In 1992 he famously discovered that Lee Sharpe and Ryan Giggs had been partying in Blackpool ahead of their game at West Ham. Fergie drove to Sharpe’s house to confront the winger, and was met by a ‘full-scale’ party, something that lead to his hairdryer being turned on.

Famous Fergie quotes

If footballers think they are above the manager’s control there is only one word to be said to them – goodbye.

My greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f***ing perch. And you can print that.

A true test of any championship team is to go to a fortress such as Anfield and win.

Those hours spent in Eric’s (Cantona) company added up to one of the more worthwhile acts I have performed in this stupid job of mine.

Not to apologise for the behaviour of the players to another manager is unthinkable. It’s a disgrace, but I don’t ever expect Wenger to apologise, he’s that sort of person.

They got away with murder. What the Arsenal players did was the worst I have witnessed in sport.

What others say about Fergie

“Sir Alex’s contribution to football in the world is huge. I want, in my life, to follow this man and his story.” – Chelsea boss Phil Scolari

“Fifty years is an unbelievable achievement. For most of those years he has been under immense pressure.” – Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

“He is Britain’s greatest manager. And he is a marvellous man.” – Sir Bobby Robson

“He’s up there with Bill Shankly and Bill Nicholson — just amazing.” – Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp

“Sometimes people see him as a hard, brisk Scotsman but there’s a heart in there too.” – Graham Taylor

“He inspired me to get into management. He’s outlasted so many people.” – Former United star Steve Bruce

“He’s the benchmark for managers starting off in the game.” – Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate

“He is someone I very much admire. He has been a legend for years.” – Fulham boss Roy Hodgson

“He’s just the Guv’nor.” – Jamie Redknapp


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