A Biography of Sir Alex by a Liverpool Fan

A Legend! They are the only words that can be used to describe this unbelievable man. In years to come children will read, much like I did with Paisley, Clough, Busby and Shankly, what he achieved and support Manchester United because of it.  As a Liverpool fan I have shouted, despised, criticised and laughed at him. When he is at his most smug I have wanted to throw him a punch or three, and when he wins another league title I have turned off in a huff. 

This will not happen on Sunday the 12th May 2013, that day I will be an admirer, I will sit down and watch his team wipe Swansea away in a match at Old Trafford that will be played for the gaffer.  I will then with the remote locked away force myself to view his team lift the trophy and try and cope as Geoff throws the microphone into his face. “Good job Geoff” he’ll say with that patronising Scottish tone and his name will be cheered throughout the night by his loyal servants in their tacky kits. I will do this because he is the only great British manager that I have been able to watch week in week out, and without a doubt the premier league (and United ) will be worse off without him.   

A striker in his playing days, Sir Alex has for the majority of his football career had the final word. He had spells at many clubs including Rangers where he had an impressive goal scoring rate of over 1 in 2 (25 goals in 41 games). Strangely unlike his managerial career he never settled at a club, he didn't like not being in the first team at Queens Park, handed in a transfer request at St. Johnstone and Falkirk and left Rangers due to abuse from fans after his marriage to a Catholic woman.

In the seventies he entered management and at the age of 32 he was paid £40 a week to manage East Stirlingshire and straight away put across his headmaster esc, style of management.  A move to St. Mirren followed shortly after and he stayed there for 4 years, winning the first division championship in 1977 after taking them over in the depths of league two.  Crazily the average age of Fergie’s championship winning side was only 19, this was the first but defiantly not the last time he would win “something with kids.” St. Mirren however will be forever known as the only club to ever sack Sir Alex, something maybe not to be so proud of.

Ferguson was not on the managers market for very long and was soon snapped up by Aberdeen. There he got the nickname “Furious Fergie” and anyone who knows Fergie will have heard about his temper, from his clash with Becks (patience its coming!!) to fining a player for overtaking him on a public road and kicking a tea set at the Aberdeen players at half time, the hair-dryer was not used solely at United! This paid off however with Aberdeen and he oversaw a big trophy haul. He won 3 Scottish Leagues, 4 Scottish Cups and a league cup as well as European success in the form of a UEFA Super Cup and a UEFA Cup winners' cup. His success drew massive attention from England and rumours of interest from Tottenham, Arsenal, Watford and Wolves, he turned these options down for various reasons. He was announced as Manchester United coach in 1986 and I wish my next paragraph was my last… sadly this was merely the start for Sir Alex.

It’s difficult to know what to cover in such a long career, without a doubt I’ll miss stories out but to start with I’ll write a short trophy list just so nothing important was forgotten.

13 English Premier League Winners- 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
5 FA Cup Winners- 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004
4 League Cup Winners- 1992, 2006, 2009, 2010
10 FA Community Shield Winners- 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
2 UEFA Champions League Winners- 1999, 2008
1 UEFA Cup winners' cup Winner- 1991
1 UEFA Super Cup Winner- 1991
1 Intercontinental Cup Winner- 1999
1 FIFA Club World cup Winner- 2008

The main talking point is that there is no FA Cup since 2004!! How can people call him the greatest ever gorhhh!

 The first three years at United weren't pressure free, no trophies, and after finishing 9th in the league the fans were starting to get on his back  "Three years of excuses and it's still crap ... ta-ra Fergie." one read. This was his darkest hour at United as they finished December 1989 just outside the relegation zone.  Famously a 1-0 FA Cup win against Forest saved him from the sack and he didn't look back. They won the FA Cup that year and the fire was lit.

Fergie had many qualities needed to become a great manager, Like Shankly, he turned his players into a team network and wanted them to play with passion for one another. He bullied like Clough, glaring at referees, baiting rival managers.  He had one of the best eyes for the transfer market football had ever seen. This was shown this year in the signing of Robin Van Persie… sign him ahead of Manchester City, Win the title ahead of Manchester City “The Fergie Philosophy” other examples include, Cantona, Keane,  Cole, Solskjaer, Sheringham, Stam, Yorke, Van Nistlerooy, Ferdinand, Ronaldo, Rooney, Vidic. Although the youth team was at the heart of everything at United without these signings Fergie would have a lot less titles. 
Ferguson won his first league title in 1993 and never looked back, he had found his winning formula after a disastrous start. 1994 bought the controversy with Cantona.   Cantona assaulted a Crystal Palace supporter in a game at Selhurst Park, and it seemed likely he would leave English football. An eight-month ban saw Cantona miss the final four months of the season but Fergie stood by him, making sure he stayed fit and when his ban was lifted he put him in the team against Liverpool, he was involved in both goals in a 2-2 draw.

Ferguson soon realised he had a wonderful amount of young players available to make the grade up to the first team, these included, the Neville Brothers, Beckham, Scholes and Nicky Butt who would all try and follow in the steps of Ryan Giggs and cement a place alongside the greats. “The Fergie Fledglings” did just that with Ferguson so confident in their abilities he didn't make a major summer signing. However there first match ended in a 3-1 defeat to villa leaving MOTD pundit Hansen to suggest they “Can’t win anything with kids.” Boy how wrong he was.

An epic title fight with Newcastle ensued featuring some massive point’s gaps, lots of dropped points and famous rant played over and over from Keegan. Sadly he didn't “Love it” and another league title belonged to Ferguson.

He lost the league to Arsenal the year later, but that only bought Fergie back stronger than ever, and they won the triple in 1999. A penalty away from going out of the FA cup, Peter Schmichaels immense save from Dennis Bergkamp gave United the confidence to dispose of their rivals and Ryan Giggs’ mazy run and hairy chest extra time goal saw United reach another FA Cup final. The Champion’s League final was even more dramatic, losing to Bayern Munich 1-0 in the ninetieth minute, United scored twice in stoppage to seal the win. Fergusons most successful season with a squad he pretty much bought or developed from scratch.
Since, Ferguson and United have continued to win titles, even after a major rebuild between 2002/2005 United were never deterred by losing even consecutive titles and never failed to finish outside the top three, Ferguson knew he would get revenge on whoever threatened his trophy cabinet. And his class of the 21st Century won him a second Champions League title in 2008. Ronaldo had also come to the forefront as one of the world’s best players and Ferguson had been the man to mould him, he certainly wasn't the thin young boy with the one trick pony step-over when he left United for a world record transfer fee.

Ferguson's ride at United has never been plain sailing. He certainly didn't get on with everyone and former player Gordan Strachan stated "I decided this man could not be trusted an inch – I would not want to expose my back to him in a hurry" In 2003, Ferguson was involved in a dressing room argument with United player David Beckham, resulting in an injury to Beckham, alleged to have been caused by Ferguson kicking a football boot in frustrati
on which hit the player in the face. He has also formed an alliance in a group of managers that could be seen as unhealthy for the game; after son Darren was sacked by Preston he and Stoke manager Tony Pulis recalled all their loan players a move claimed by some to be petty from both.
He has also been fined on numerous occasions by the FA for comments regarding referees performances.

20 October 2003 – Two match touchline ban and fined £10,000 after using abusive and/or insulting words towards fourth official Jeff Winter.
14 December 2007 – Two match touchline ban and fined £5,000 after using abusive and/or insulting words towards Mark Clattenburg.
18 November 2008 – Two match touchline ban and fined £10,000 after confronting Mike Dean after a game.
12 November 2009 – Four match touchline ban (two suspended) and fined £20,000 for comments made about the fitness of Alan Wiley.
16 March 2011 – Five match touchline ban (three plus the two suspended for the above offence) and fined £30,000 for comments made questioning the performance and fairness of Martin Atkinson.

These actions and intimidating behaviour towards officials has led to many believing they make favourable decisions towards Manchester United, with the thought that if they did not, they would be facing a trip to League 1 to referee the next week.  It has also been suggested that Ferguson's intimidation of referees results in "Fergie Time" defined as, unusually generous injury time being added in matches where Manchester United are behind. Analysis by Opta Sports of Premier League matches played between 2010 and 2012 found on average that 79 seconds more time was played in matches where Manchester United were losing

Despite these controversies Fergie will always been remembered and his legacy will always remain, a lot of former players have followed in his path to become managers, coaches and pundits. Earlier this week Gary Neville admitted he would tell every player to get their coaching badges before they retired. And the longevity of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes (who will also retire this season) is down to his remarkable techniques. The man will be known by numbers but should be remembered for his amazing actions. We should remember the red face in an angry press conference after a 1-0 defeat and the jumping celebration as he won another league title. His legacy will be forced down our throats for years so let’s embrace it and enjoy one of the greatest managers that ever lived!

A Little Bit Extra

Sadly as a Liverpool fan I have to finish on a low, light hearted look at Sir Alex, when you're down, looking at United’s 20 league titles wondering if they will ever be reached just remember… you've never been caught driving on the hard shoulder by police, then gone to court and claimed you were doing it because you were suffering from severe diarrhoea and had to reach a toilet pronto…more can be read HERE! THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES SIR AL!!

James Cartwright (TFHB) 11/05/13

Follow me and TFHB on twitter @James_H_C  and @TFHBTop250


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