As Sir Alex Ferguson reads his morning newspaper spread under his purple nose, his reign at Old Trafford wouldai??i??ve stretched to an impressive 25 years and 8 months. He has without a doubt done more than enough to share the pedestal with the likes of Paisley, Herrera, Clough, Hiddink, Michels and another Old Trafford legend Sir Matt Busby.

The reign of Sir Alex Ferguson

A characteristic feature of the Sir Alex’s reign is his club before player philosophy. As a boot in the dressing room with a bit of Beckhamai??i??s eyebrow on it would tell any willing listeners, you do not cross paths with the gaffer in these parts. However influential or skillful a player may be, if he challenges the authority of the boss, the only way is out.

There is no shortage of instances, none more telling than the Roy Keane episode where harsh criticism of his teammates on MUTV resulted in Ferguson banning the interview to be aired and Roy Keane parting company with the club by ai???mutual consentai??? a couple of months later. This is the same Roy Keane who had been the heartbeat of the United teams under Ferguson.

The Roy Keane saga

This was the same Keane who came to his teammateai??i??s aid when Patrick Vieira was taking the mickey out of Gary Neville before the Arsenal-Manchester United clash of March 2005. Such was his presence as a leader on the pitch that the United players lamented his departure even after they had got an earful during hisAi??interview which was later banned.

The same Keane scored the goal that brought United back into the Championsai??i?? League semifinal against Juventus in ai??i??99, even though he was suspended for the final. Ferguson praised Keaneai??i??s performance calling it an “emphatic display of selflessness“, “competing if he would rather die of exhaustion than lose, he inspired all around him. I felt it was an honor to be associated with such a player“. Honor bestowed, but not at the risk of undermining the bossai??i??s authority, Keane had to go. Other notable examples include the giant Dutchman Jaap Stam, the flying Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy and the very British Beckham.

More recently, the promising youngster Ravel Morrison had been reluctantly released by Ferguson. Nicknamed ai???Rebel Morrisonai??i?? due to his off the pitch antics and ill discipline, Ferguson thought Morrison was too much of a disruption to handle and showed him the door. Not surprisingly, rumors have been rife about West Ham United, Morrisonai??i??s current employers, following suit.

United have tried hard to placate the youngster and inspire him with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Brian McClair and even Sir Bobby Charlton assisting him. But to no avail. Morrisonai??i??s court appearances, assaulting his girlfriend, mother and witnesses have led Ferguson to believe he is not worth the trouble, talented though he is.

ferguson

Ferguson

Ferguson - the gaffer

ferguson

Even the Paul Pogba saga has to an end with the midfield prodigy opting to move to Juventus in all likelihood. Ferguson has made no secret of his displeasure at learning that Pogba had agreed a secret deal with Juventus long before Ferguson had introduced him to the first team fold at United last season. The bottom line for Ferguson here is respect and character of a player and not the name on the back of the shirt.

There is a famous incident that did the rounds at Unitedai??i??s Carrington training ground canteen back in 2008, where youth team forward Robbie Brady opened his mouth to order, only to be cut in line by the recent Ballon Dai??i??Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo (maybe with a wink). Brady stepped aside to let the man of the hour order his food. Ferguson, watching all this from the corner took Brady aside and on asking him why he let somebody cut in line, was told “Well you knowai??i??.itai??i??s Ronaldo boss.” Ferguson then told Brady “Youai??i??re here to try take his place son. Donai??i??t let me see you do that again.

The managerai??i??s authority is always more important than the playerai??i??s ego. The same cannot be said of Roberto Mancini allowing Carlos Tevez back after claiming he was “finished” at City while he was manager. Or a defeated Raymond Domenech slumped in his dugout chair during the France vs. South Africa game at the 2010 World Cup after the entire French team had walked out on training in support of Nicolas Anelkaai??i??s dissent against his manager. Or the crate of managers who have indulged Joey Barton and his antics, in return for his occasional footballing genius.

The jury may be out on which managerial technique is the best, but Ferguson has stuck to his principles for 25 years. And the records speak for themselves.

– Dushyant Sinha

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3 Responses to “Manchester United : Sir Alex Ferguson And The Rebel Without A Cause”

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  1. Chris COYLE says:

    It must however be stated that EVERYTHING has a “best before date” Unfortunately, Alex has become complacent and unwilling to allow other input.
    There is NO question that he LOST the title last year by allowing Everton to come back at Old Trafford not once but twice. Had somebody qualified and allowed a voice been his number 2, instead of the YesMan that is Mike Phelan, then they would have said “Boss, we need to make some changes”
    Also, he continually makes statements that show he has little real respect for the fans that pay ALL their wages. “The Glazers are great owners” – “The Ronaldo money is there for me to spend”
    He also refuses to drop Wayne Rooney apart from when he turned up still drunk for training last year after anight out with Darron Gibson. He refuses to make him get fit, lose weight and not insist on “extra” holidays because he played 2 games in the Euros. The last thing Rooney should be getting is special treatment and no wonder Pogba wanted to go if Ryan Giggs is going to given a place in midfield due to some sentimental reason.
    Lets start seeing things for what they are. He has over achieved through luck (Bayern 1999) and Moscow(John Terry) and the good fortune to have some amazing players play under him.
    For every Ronaldo he bought there has been three Verons, Klebersons, Djemba Djembas ………… and lets note even start about Bebe.

  2. James MacKenzie says:

    Manchester United are having the life sucked out of them due to servicing the interest on their massive debts. Why doesn’t Sir Alex speak out about this? Each year United are spending more on interest payments than they are on the team. Surely if Sir Alex spoke up, the Glazers would be forced into selling the club or spending more on an ailing team. But Sir Alex won’t say a word. Loyalty to his employers? Or is it because his employers might talk about Bebe and what really went on with that. Ferguson is compromised, by the reality of the Bebe deal and United will not win a title again under him.