Sir Alex Ferguson appreciation thread

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Post by Busby Babe Tue Oct 22, 2013 5:10 pm

Sir Alex Ferguson book: The best bits from Beckham to Ronaldo

Ferguson on David Beckham

In his final season with us, we were aware that David's work-rate was dropping and we had heard rumours of a flirtation between Real Madrid and David's camp. The main issue was that his application level had dropped from its traditionally stratospheric level.

The confrontation between us that caused so much excitement around the game was an FA Cup fifth-round tie against Arsenal at Old Trafford in February 2003, which we lost 2-0.

David's offence in that particular game was that he neglected to track back for the second Arsenal goal, scored by Sylvain Wiltord. He merely jogged. The boy just kept on running away from him. At the end I got on to him. As usual, with David at that time, he was dismissive of my criticism. It's possible that he was starting to think he no longer needed to track back and chase, which were the very qualities that had made him what he was.

He was around 12 feet from me. Between us on the floor lay a row of boots. David swore. I moved towards him, and as I approached I kicked a boot. It hit him right above the eye. Of course he rose to have a go at me and the players stopped him. 'Sit down,' I said. 'You've let your team down. You can argue as much as you like.'

I called him in the next day to go through the video and he still would not accept his mistake. As he sat listening to me, he didn't say a word. Not a word. 'Do you understand what we're talking about, why we got on to you?' I asked. He didn't even answer me.

The next day the story was in the press. In public an Alice band highlighted the damage inflicted by the boot. It was in those days that I told the board David had to go. My message would have been familiar to board members who knew me. The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager, he had to go. I used to say: 'The moment the manager loses his authority, you don't have a club. The players will be running it, and then you're in trouble.'

David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson. There is no doubt about that in my mind. It doesn't matter whether it's Alex Ferguson or Pete the Plumber. The name of the manager is irrelevant. The authority is what counts. You cannot have a player taking over the dressing room. Many tried. The focus of authority at Manchester United is the manager's office. That was the death knell for him.

Ferguson on Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano was the most gifted player I managed. He surpassed all the other great ones I coached at United - and I had many.

The only ones who could be placed near him would be a couple of the home-produced players, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, because they contributed so prodigiously to Manchester United for two decades.

Real Madrid paid £80m in cash for him [in 2009] and do you know why? It was a way for Florentino Perez, their president, to say to the world: 'We are Real Madrid, we are the biggest of the lot.'
Sir Alex Ferguson and Cristiano Ronaldo celebrate Champions League success.

Ramon Calderon, Perez's predecessor, had claimed the previous year that Cristiano would one day be a Real Madrid player.

I went to [assistant manager] Carlos Queiroz's house in Portugal to find the boy expressing an urge to go to Real Madrid, and told him: 'You can't go this year, not after the way Calderon has approached this issue'. I said: 'I know you want to go to Real Madrid but I'd rather shoot you than sell you to that guy now. If you perform, don't mess us about, and someone comes and offers a world record fee, then we will let you go.'

I did well to calm him down. I told him the reason I was refusing to sell him that year was because of Calderon.

I said: 'If I do that, my honour's gone, everything's gone for me, and I don't care if you have to sit in the stands. I know it won't come to that, but I just have to tell you I will not let you leave this year.'
Ferguson on Arsenal pizza fight

My recollection of that fabled incident is that when [United striker] Ruud van Nistelrooy came into the dressing room, he complained that [Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger had been giving him stick as he left the pitch. Right away I rushed out to say to Arsene: 'You leave my players alone.' He was incensed at losing the game. That was the reason for his combative behaviour.
Arsenal v Manchester United at Old Trafford

'You should attend to your own players,' I told him. He was livid. His fists were clenched. I was in control, I knew it. The next thing I knew I had pizza all over me. We put food into the away dressing room after every game. Pizza, chicken. Most clubs do it. Arsenal's food was the best.

They say it was [then Arsenal midfielder] Cesc Fabregas who threw the pizza at me but, to this day, I have no idea who the culprit was. The corridor outside the dressing room turned into a rabble. Arsenal had been defending a 49-game unbeaten record and had been hoping to make it 50 on our turf. It seemed to me that losing the game scrambled Arsene's brain.

That day created a division between us, without doubt, and that rift extended to [assistant manager] Pat Rice, who stopped coming in for a drink after games. The wound was not fully healed until the Champions League semi-final in 2009, when Arsene invited us into his room after the game and congratulated us. When we played them at Old Trafford a few weeks later, Arsene came in with Pat, just for a few minutes.

Ferguson on Rafael 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.

Ferguson on Wayne Rooney

He has great qualities about him but they could be swallowed up a lack of fitness.

Wayne had a gift for producing great moments in games. In my final year, when he was left out a few times, and replaced in games, I felt he was struggling to get by people and had lost some of his old thrust. As time wore on, I felt he struggled more and more to do it for 90 minutes, and he seemed to tire in games.

He came into my office the day after we won the [2012-13] Premier League and asked away. He wasn't happy with being left out for some games and subbed in others. His agent, Paul Stretford, phoned David Gill with the same message.

I left him to discuss his future with [new United manager] David Moyes, hoping to see many more great performances from him at Old Trafford.

Ferguson on Roy Keane

The hardest part of Roy's body is his tongue. He has the most savage tongue you can imagine. He can debilitate the most confident person in the world in seconds.

On one occasion, as I came in to the dressing room, Roy and Ruud van Nistelrooy were at it, hammer and tongs. They had to be pulled apart by the players. At least Van Nistelrooy had the courage to stand up to Roy, because not everyone did. He was an intimidating, ferocious individual. His mode when angry was to attack, lay into people.

He was a player constructed around his own passions. In the season prior to the fall-out, he was beginning to show physical signs of weakness in terms of getting back to fulfil his defensive duties.

It became transparent to us that we were no longer dealing with the same Roy Keane. Deep down, I believe, he knew that better than anyone. He simply could not bring himself to abandon his old talismanic role.

That was the long-term context to the confrontation that ended with him leaving the club and joining Celtic. He thought he was Peter Pan. Nobody is.

Ferguson on referees

By the end, I felt we hadn't had a really top Premier League referee for a long time. I know Graham Poll had that arrogant streak, but he was the best decision-maker. He was the best judge of an incident over my time at Manchester United.

When a referee is working in front of 44,000 at Anfield, or 76,000 at Old Trafford, and he gives a goal that goes against the home team, and the crowd scream, it does affect a lot of them. That's another distinction: the ability to make decisions against the tide, against the roar of the crowd. The old saying that a referee was 'a homer' does apply. It's not to say a ref is cheating, more that they are influenced by the force of emotion in the crowd.

Anfield was probably the hardest place for a match official to be objective, because it was such a closed-in, volatile environment. There is an intimidation factor, from fans to referees, not just at Liverpool but across the game.

Forty years ago, crowds were not frenzied the way they are today. Now perhaps it would serve a higher purpose for the referee to attend a press conference with his supervisor alongside him and explain how he saw it. For instance, I would have found it interesting to hear from the Turkish referee who handled the Champions League tie against Real Madrid at Old Trafford in March 2013, and listen to what he had to say about Nani's sending-off, which was appalling.

A brief referee's press conference might have been a step forward. You can't stop progress.

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Post by Vlad the Impaler Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:16 am

I miss the old man. Neutral
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Post by RED Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:21 pm

One of a kind genius.

Just thinking about him. Miss this GOAT Sad

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Post by B-Mac Sun Nov 22, 2015 4:25 pm

don't know if any of you saw this before

interesting when he talks about his retirement and appointment of David Moyes.

Says that they looked at Mourinho, Ancellotti, Klopp, Guardiola...but Mourinho had already decided he was going back to Chelsea, Ancellotti was already going to Madrid, Klopp had just signed a new contract and Guardiola and him had dinner in New York but Pep never got back to him...and Moyes was sort of the best they could do at the time.
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