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Sir Alex, caterpillars and Crocodile Dundee

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Dan Walker | 08:44 UK time, Friday, 4 November 2011

Twenty five years is a long time. Whatever you think of Sir Alex Ferguson, it is impressive he has managed to hang around in the same job for a quarter of a century.

I know there has been a lot on the BBC about his landmark but the intention of this blog is to give an insight into his 25th anniversary dinner that took place in Manchester on Thursday, 3 November - a dinner I was asked to host.

I have mentioned on this blog before that I worked in Manchester as a sports reporter, editor and commentator for about five years from 1999. Part of my job was to visit Sir Alex twice a week to gather his thoughts on the next game and football matters in general.

Our relationship wasn't always wonderful - I was banned on a few occasions - but I maintain he gave me the best possible preparation for a career spent asking people questions, especially difficult ones. If you can take Ferguson's Govan glare and not be turned to stone, you can tackle anyone.

Sir Alex Ferguson balances a football on his head

Sir Alex focuses his infamous Govan glare on a tricky spherical object. Photo: Getty

By the time I arrived at United's Cliff Training Ground, before they moved to Carrington, Sir Alex had already been at the club for 13 years. When he was first appointed, Top Gun and Crocodile Dundee were slugging it out at the box office, Nick Berry was number one with Every Loser Wins and Wayne Rooney had just celebrated his first birthday.

Twenty five years on, the death of Goose in Top Gun is still hard to take, "That's not a knife... this is a knife," from Crocodile Dundee remains a great film quote, Nick Berry is no longer a chart sensation and Rooney is playing for a manager who is still going strong.

When you consider Ferguson's achievements in those 25 years, it is no surprise the stars were out in force at Old Trafford cricket ground.

Every United first-team squad member was in attendance, along with 40 former players and a host of managers from the Premier League plus other famous football faces. Comedy came from Kevin Bridges and music from the brilliant Mumford & Sons and The Script. There were showbiz-types and business bigwigs all soaking up the glitz and glamour.

Fergie admitted he had not heard of either of the bands but they were both delighted to be there and a little starstruck when they got to meet the man himself.

My job was to introduce the evening with co-host Charlotte Jackson, run the auction and interview Sir Alex on stage for 20 minutes. There were 600 people in the room. I often get asked if I feel nervous about these sorts of things but, to be honest, it is a real pleasure to do them. I always feel at home with a microphone.

I have hosted quite a few auctions over the years and once sold a wicker dog for £1.50. Someone opened the bidding at five pence so I was happy with the end price. Last night's auction was on a different level. An outrageously expensive watch, a car, the chance to attend Cheltenham races with Sir Alex and arrive by helicopter, VIP tickets to every music festival for 12 months, a week's stay on a luxury yacht and the chance to be a mascot at Old Trafford were all on offer.

Dan Walker with two band members of Mumford & Sons

Arguing over League Two with Mumford & Sons

In total, the night raised £220,000 for the Elizabeth Hardie Ferguson Charitable Trust Fund.

I feel it would be wrong of me to not mention the food as well. There was a delicious smoked fish starter, a cheeky steak main and a mini banoffee pie for afters that was off the scale.

The after-show party went on into the small hours. The highlights were putting a bow tie on Brian O'Driscoll, some guy doing the greatest caterpillar dance in history and arguing with Marcus from Mumford & Sons about the merits of my Crawley Town over his AFC Wimbledon.

On Football Focus this week we shall be looking back on the Fergie Years with his former assistant Steve McClaren as well as Mark Lawrenson. We will also be asking whether Manchester City are going to ruin season number 26. Steve Bruce will be talking about Sunderland's season and we will hear from Crewe's Dario Gradi.

In addition to all that, David Beckham will be on Focus for the first time in a while and we will hoover up all the stories and goals from the week too.

Thanks for all your questions for Sir Alex from last week's blog. I wove a couple in last night. If you have any general comments or questions this week then write them below and I will try to get back to you. I should point out that I was a little rubbish with my responses last time but it is my November resolution to be a lot better. If this isn't enough Football Focus in your life, you can also find me on Twitter.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Comparing managers is like comparing players of different eras. In the current game, he is a legend for the sustained level of success, the making and rebuilding of different sides, and the change he has brought to United and probably the game (not him alone, admittedly) as far as marketing and finance in football.

    Is he the greatest? It depends on your criteria, but he's certainly completely one of a kind and his feats will unlikely ever be repeated.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Dan

    Through gritted teeth I do admire the job that Ferguson has done. In my opinion his success has come down to three things.

    1. Man Utd's success at been way ahead of the rest at exploiting the commercial and money making opportunities that the Premier league created.

    2. Fear. Creating an intimidation factor throughout the league. The only British manager who has stood up to Ferguson since the Premier League began has been Dalglish. Your Arry's, Allardyce's, Hodgsons, Bruce, Hughes etc, etc have always rolled over and let their tummies be tickled.

    3. Evolving with the times. Ferguson has gone from the Iron man nobody would mess with (Stam, Ince, Beckham etc) to a manager who will indulge greed, poor behavior (Rooney) if he feels it's in the best interests of Man Utd.

    He has gone from a manager who will always play attacking football (1999) in Europe to a manager who is quite happy to have his team sit back and go for a breakaway goal (recent European campaigns).

    This constant ability to evolve and meet new challenges has to be admired.

  • Comment number 3.

    Not one of your best Dan but what more can you really say, that hasn't already been said? However it was saved by the mention of The Caterpillar. Reminded me of a weekend away in Bournemouth some years ago. After a pretty heavy Saturday night we decided it would be a good idea to carry on at the local pub.

    Having drunk several pints of of Reef (still alcoholic orange drink for those that don't know) and vodka my friend decided do The Caterpillar around the pub. Not sure what the locals made of it at 12pm on a Sunday lunch time.

  • Comment number 4.

    "The only British manager who has stood up to Ferguson since the Premier League began has been Dalglish"

    Mourinho and Wenger have also stood firm. But Sir Alex knows well the value to be gained in the fear factor. Any advantage you can gain is worth having.

    He isn't the best tactically, and I suspect Mourinho will stand along side him when the final count is made.

  • Comment number 5.

    Complain about this comment (Comment number 3)
    Comment number 4.At 10:27 4th Nov 2011, GenesisRed wrote:
    "The only British manager who has stood up to Ferguson since the Premier League began has been Dalglish"

    Mourinho and Wenger have also stood firm. But Sir Alex knows well the value to be gained in the fear factor. Any advantage you can gain is worth having.

    He isn't the best tactically, and I suspect Mourinho will stand along side him when the final count is made.

    -----------------------------------

    I would also add Ancelloti and Benitez to the list of standing firm. But my point was about British managers.

    As for comparing managers, well that will open the can of worms! I think like comparing players of different generations it is an impossible task with no definitive answer!

  • Comment number 6.

    Dan

    How much of an old boys network exists within the football world you inhabit?

    And while this may sound a bit meely mouthed, isn't it wonderful that such a collection of individuals were able to raise about a weeks Rooney salary with that auction. Golden handshakes all round!

    I P Freely

  • Comment number 7.

    |An outrageously expensive watch, a car, the chance to attend Cheltenham races with Sir Alex and arrive by helicopter, VIP tickets to every music festival for 12 months, a week's stay on a luxury yacht and the chance to be a mascot at Old Trafford were all on offer.


    In total, the night raised £220,000 for the Elizabeth Hardie Ferguson Charitable Trust Fund."


    Get back and finished what you started! 220k is a disgrace

  • Comment number 8.

    The greatest manager the game has seen and will ever see. Someone like Mourinho may eventually surpass his trophy haul, but it won't be with the same club.

  • Comment number 9.

    GenesisRed and JamTay1 are you actually serious??? Any FOOTBALL fan can see that Fergie has been the best manager the PL has ever had and to compare him with the likes of Mourinho, Ancelloti and Benitez is a joke!!! They last how long the PL and won how many cups between them? You need to have a reality check and accept that even the biggest hater of Man U can see that Fergie is a class above any other manager that has graced the PL!!

  • Comment number 10.

    "And while this may sound a bit meely mouthed, isn't it wonderful that such a collection of individuals were able to raise about a weeks Rooney salary with that auction."

    It does put things into context, and it's a shame there aren't more (obvious?) examples like Assou Ekotto.

    Still, its a good amount of money in the world of charities

  • Comment number 11.

    Ferguson - the greatest British manager of all time period. How much longer can he go on for? It will be nice when he finally calls it a day - might give the rest of us a chance of winning something.

    Quite rich of Mauroshampoo in post 3 to critise the quality of Dan's blog and then follow that up with an utterly pointless story devoid of any humor.

  • Comment number 12.

    "That's not a knife... this is a knife" is from Crocodile Dundee 2.

  • Comment number 13.

    @12 no its not, its from the first film.

  • Comment number 14.

    #10 GenesisRed

    It does put things into context, and it's a shame there aren't more (obvious?) examples like Assou Ekotto.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Don't geddit. What's he been up to?

  • Comment number 15.

    Actually it's from the first one. I'll get me coat.

  • Comment number 16.

    fergie............FERGIEEEEEEE!! AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! i luv him xxx

  • Comment number 17.

    While I think deciding who the best manager ever is entirely a subjective decision, I would say he is up there. Certainly in the English game, I believe it's a toss up between him and Shankly and Worldwide he's in the top ten, if not the best.

    Tommy Vercetti

  • Comment number 18.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 19.

    I don't need a gun I've got a donk.

    What's a donk?

    DONK!

    Classic!

  • Comment number 20.

    yes he did well in scotland, but i wonder what alex would have been if he had started like harry redknapp, would he have gone on to manage man utd?

    also there is a strange rumour flying around that alex broke up liverpools domination but in the 4yrs proir to alex landing the job at utd lpoolwon 1 league title in4 yrs it went everton liverpool arsenal then leeds

    also under todays chairmen would fergy have stayed in the job for the number of yrs it took to win a prize at utd?

    however all said and done yes fergy is a class manager, but a manager who relys on huge spending, take away buys over 10mill and utd have a 1st divison team.but fergy has shownnover a long timewiththeright amount ofspending u can be succesful.welldone alex urthebest british manager of ur genration

  • Comment number 21.

    @Mr Blue Burns, honestly, i couldn't say specifically, but he's a good charity supporting boy isn't he? Sure i heard something about that...

    @20, i'm sensing a touch of bitterness there. Where he came from is kind of immaterial. He was a success with Aberdeen and he took on United with the ambition of breaking Liverpool's league dominance as far as record. Which he has now done.

    He was fortunate to have the support of his chairman, just about. And he was fortunate at a key time. What he achieved since then is not fortune, however.

    It just goes to show how stupid it can be for chairmen to have knee jerk reactions (see Tottenham with Jol, Chelsea with Mourinho, Arsenal currently with Wenger under pressure).

    As far has him RELYING on huge spending, that's just sad. He brought success not by huge spending, but he built ON that success with spending for sure. He has spent the last 25 years merging young talents from the youth squad with purchased and often BARGAIN professionals.

    Every team he has created, has had a core of youth talent. Only Arsenal at the top end can say the same, domestically.

  • Comment number 22.

    #21 GenesisRed

    It just goes to show how stupid it can be for chairmen to have knee jerk reactions (see Tottenham with Jol, Chelsea with Mourinho,
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mourinho pretty much talked himself out of his job at Chelsea. His stroppy actions and petulant speeches pretty much made his position untenable.

    That is not to say that Chelsea haven't made wrong managerial appointments, but, I don't actually think the record there is quite what people claim/make out/believe.

  • Comment number 23.

    yes he did well in scotland, but i wonder what alex would have been if he had started like harry redknapp, would he have gone on to manage man utd?

    ---------------
    He started at East Stirling a club that are regularly anchored to the bottom of the bottom of the Scottish divisions. Rejected the job at Rangers (for reasons that wouldn't make pleasant reading in a family blog but can be summed up as 'his wife is Catholic') and after winning the ECWC and Super Cup with Aberdeen, by your logic he would have taken a job at Bournemouth?

    What a perverse career trajectory you have in your mind.

  • Comment number 24.

    @22

    I would agree. I think Mourinho had had enough and just wanted out.
    There was Abramovich spending millions on Ballack and Shevchenko.
    And what does JM do? Signs Pizzaro, Sidwell and Ben Haim on Bosmans.

    I think the final straw was JM claiming in an interview that Shevchenko was 4 th choice behind Drogba, Shevchenko and Kalou.

    Abramovich knew then he was just taking the p**s.
    I don't think there are any regrets though. From both sides.

  • Comment number 25.

    @22, you're probably right, but he's still my favourite Chelsea manager (even though he broke our dominance) along with Ranieri, who was hugely unlucky.

    He probably wanted out, since he's never going to spend a long time at a club till he's fullfilled his ambitions.

  • Comment number 26.

    @24

    *I meant "4 th choice behind Drogba, Pizzaro and Kalou"

  • Comment number 27.

    You simply have to respect and admire what he has done, and that wasn't easy for me to say.

    Why no pictures of the lovely Ms Jackson?

    Linda Kozlowski

  • Comment number 28.

    Morning all. Good to see a healthy debate.

    I understand the point about footballers salaries but £220000 is still a vast amount of cash to raise in 45 minutes.

    It's impossible to argue who is the best ever because there are so many facets that contribute to success.

    What you have to admit is that his achievement is incredible and it's hard to argue with 27 trophies in 25 years.

    Keep those comments coming. I'm off to get some fig rolls.

    Michel Roux

  • Comment number 29.

    The last thing you want is your owner interfering with the football matters, and buying flagship players you don't need. It's bad enough when they're an "expert" director of football

  • Comment number 30.

    #25 GenesisRed

    I think Mourinho cares more for himself than for the club he is employed by.

    He tried to show that things that went wrong were other people's fault, and not his won.

    A case in point of his stroppyness was the match away to Liverpool in February 2007, Cech's comeback game.

    With the main central defenders missing, Mourinho could and maybe should have seen what other defenders were at the club, dipped into the reserves maybe.

    But no, he chose to play Ferreira and Essien then. In fairness, apart from the first ten minutes or so, we did alright. But, the damage had been done. https://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/6258681.stm

  • Comment number 31.

    it's an interesting one, Mr BB, but do you really think he deliberately sabbotaged his own chances of winning the league out of spite?

  • Comment number 32.

    #28 Dan Walker

    I understand the point about footballers salaries but £220000 is still a vast amount of cash to raise in 45 minutes.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Come on Dan. Sure, as an absolute amount, it's a lot better than nothing and it will do someone some good no doubt.

    However, this sort of auction is all a bit hooray henry and does little more than appease the consciences of those that are sitting around stuffing themselves with fine food and drink whilst patting themselves on the back.

    Seymour Butts

  • Comment number 33.

    @20. "huge spending, take away buys over 10mill and utd have a 1st divison team"

    Apply that too Man City and where would they be then? Conference?

  • Comment number 34.

    #31 GenesisRed

    What I am saying is that the writing was starting to appear on the wall. From memory, there had been talk that Mourinho was less than happy with the funds, or lack of, that he had been given in the January window that year. Thus, to prove the point, he tried to demonstrate that without money he could not play a proper team.

    His CV had already been boosted by what he had done at Chelsea and he was probably safe in the knowledge that he could get a job elsewhere and blame Abramovich for him leaving.

    Do you think I'm that far off the mark in my analysis?

  • Comment number 35.

    Mister Blue Burns

    I normally agree with you on most things but not this time regarding the money raised. 220k in 45 mins for a limited amount of "luxury" items imho is pretty good. As I understand it the watch only went for 4k so the rest getting 216k.

    I understand your point regarding footballers outrageous dosh but don't consider it exactly relevant here.

  • Comment number 36.

    Fergusons European record over the last couple of decades has been mediocre, United have been knocked out of the Champions League at the semi final stage by the likes of Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen and Dortmund. He is the 1st British manager to lose 2 Champions League Finals. I believe he is only hanging around, in a desperate attempt to improve that record. The prospects of that happening are increasingly slim.

  • Comment number 37.

    #35 Andy

    See the second paragraph at #32.

  • Comment number 38.

    @20

    Can you make a valid and correct point? This is about Fergie's 25th year in charge, if you even read the article it states he started in 1986. Your point about Liverpool not being on their perch is rubbish, granted he didn't win his first title until 92-93 which is the timeframe you're referring too. But prior to Fergie's arrival Liverpool had won the league 4 out of the past 5 years.

    This whole take away buys over ten million thing? Maybe arsenal would have won a title, but they wouldn't have had Henry off the top of my head. Certainly Chelsea wouldn't have won one. I think only Barcelona due to there youth system may have won the league, and they have spent big on Villa/Fabregas/Sanchez/Ronaldinho in recent years.

  • Comment number 39.

    36 Maxmerit

    Mediocre results in European competition. Are you having a joke?

    Name me the teams that have progressed as far in all the seasons since the CL started.

    Also losing two finals to Barca, probably the best team in the world for the last few years is hardly mediocre.

  • Comment number 40.

    Fergie is a legend which ever way you look at it.

    However, deep down he knows he needs one more European crown to put unquestionably amongst the greatest of all time.

  • Comment number 41.

    ..........and once sold a wicker dog for £1.50.

    Robbie Savage only managed to fetch £1.50?

    Having drunk several pints of of Reef

    NO REAL MAN drinks Reef!

    everyone knows its for girls!

    oh and fergie has done well, pass him my best wishes.

    Naboo

  • Comment number 42.

    Lol Tevez could raise more by refusing to play.

  • Comment number 43.

    @36 maxplus

    I remember Leverkusen in 2002. I also remember Dortmund in 1997.
    But when did Monaco knock Utd out of the champs league at the semi final stage?

    Not another ABU trying to re-write history in and attempt to belittle SAF's achievements, are you?

    Johns the que behind Soul_, nibs and a whole host of Scousers.

    Next?

  • Comment number 44.

    #39 Andy

    I think it's a fair point to question Man U's record in Europe over his tenure.

    If the self styled biggest and richest club in the world has been in the tournament every year, isn't two Champions League titles, both of which had more than a hint of good fortune about them merely acceptable?

  • Comment number 45.

    #37 MrBB

    I get your point about who was in attendance of course. Who else could afford to go?

    My point was more on the amount raised and the relation to footballers income.

  • Comment number 46.

    #42 United Dreamer

    Lol Tevez could raise more by refusing to play.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Exactly.

    If Man U's wage bill is currently about £130m, then just what the squad earned that day is £357k.

    As I say, as an absolute figure, £220k is good. In the context of the wealth of those attending, it's probably on the lower side of pathetic. That wouldn't matter (it's not for me to say how people should spend their money) except that the article seeks to make this 'amount raised' to something quite virtuous and generous.

    Mike Hunt

  • Comment number 47.

    #44 MrBB

    I agree we should have done better within the time frame. And it pains me to say it but luck has certainly played a role in both wins, tenacity also I think.

    My reference was the amount of times we have been there or thereaabouts in pretty well every season of the CL. I can't state it as fact but I don't thik any other team has achieved that.

  • Comment number 48.

    #20 "however all said and done yes fergy is a class manager, but a manager who relys on huge spending"

    Rubbish.

    #34 Mr BB - if there's one thing SAF has proven, it is that you can only have one boss at a club and he's peed off a number of chairmen and owners in his time. Abramovich in my opinion has been both a constructive (money-wise) and divisive (to involved in the football side of things) influence. I mean who wouldn't be a bit narked at having 30 million of your transfer fee wasted on a former great's swansong?

    #36 Maxmerit - no lol

  • Comment number 49.

    Fergie has been consistently outwitted by European coaches of inferior teams in Europe over the years, for all his success domestically, when it comes to the business end of the Champions League his shortcomings are highlighted.

  • Comment number 50.

    Anyway, when are the bankers going to have a fund raiser and raise 500 billion?

  • Comment number 51.

    #48 United Dreamer

    You might be right on the transfer fund. But, his rather public protestations did not help. Such issues are best dealt with in house aren't they? Anyway, we don't (never will?) know what was promised to him at every juncture so we don't know if either party didn't hold their side of a bargain.

  • Comment number 52.

    #49 No MaxMerit - a tough domestic league is what has made achieving in Europe a tough proposition. The only other premiership side to have won the champions league basically gave up the permiership as a lost cause that season. United fight on all fronts.

  • Comment number 53.

    23.At 11:53 4th Nov 2011, Strange_UBoat wrote:
    yes he did well in scotland, but i wonder what alex would have been if he had started like harry redknapp, would he have gone on to manage man utd?

    ---------------
    He started at East Stirling a club that are regularly anchored to the bottom of the bottom of the Scottish divisions. Rejected the job at Rangers (for reasons that wouldn't make pleasant reading in a family blog but can be summed up as 'his wife is Catholic') and after winning the ECWC and Super Cup with Aberdeen, by your logic he would have taken a job at Bournemouth?

    What a perverse career trajectory you have in your mind.

    --------------
    my point was managing in scotland is far easyier, yes he did well at aberdeen,butby the same token dundee utd won the scotich prem in 1982-83 with then the record points ever! they also made the euro semi final. and in 1986 they got to the final of the uefa cup, so rangers and celtic werent the force they were in early80's,so to talkof fergy breaking up rangers and celtic dominace is also a lil off the mark to dundee utd manager at the time was Jim McLean . not someone well remembered was heon grand scheme of things. my point was if alex started in a english club 80 places down the leagues would he have done so well? and bitter umm no lpool as a force were over by 1990. fergy or no fergy lpool caused there own downfall


    and im correct about people claiming ferrgy stopped the lpool train.read mcnultys coluims.lpoolcaused own downfall

  • Comment number 54.

    @ 32 Mr Blue Burns - You seem a bit cynical towards the 'generosity' so you may like like this!

    There were 600 people in the room.
    Lets assume 2/3 of these were footballers/managers
    Lets also assume they are on £100,000 per week salaries (probably a bit high as an average but bear with me).

    So 400 x 100,000 = £40 million per week in wages.
    Divide this by 7 (days) equals approximately £5.7 million.
    Divide this by 24 (hours) = approximately £230,000 per hour. (Remember this figure)

    Now lets assume that the other 200 people were on an average wage of about £500 per week (almost certain this is a bit low but bear with me!)
    So 200 x £500 = £100,000.
    Divide this by 7 (days) equals approximately £14,300
    Divide this by 24 (hours) = approximately £600 per hour.

    So add £230,000 to £600 = £230,600.

    So if we say they were there for an hour (including hello's and goodbyes!)then the combined 600 people only 'earned' £10,000 more (as a group) during this hour than they 'generously' donated!

  • Comment number 55.

    MrBB I just think it was a clash of egos and that doesn't help a club succeed. It needs to be the manager who gets the last say. But all things being equal, who would you have as manager at Chelsea?

  • Comment number 56.

    Mr BB, you may be right. I love a good consipiracy (for example, i believe Soul_Patch to be a BBC operative) and i don't doubt he had a look what he could get on the free transfer market to make a point.

    But hopefully (hmmm) he is bigger than playing with people's careers just to get back at the guy who pays his wages...

    No, on reflection, you're probably bang on the money!

  • Comment number 57.

    #36 - I think Monaco knocked Chelsea out in the semis in 2004, while Porto knocked United out in the quarters - both of which contributed to the Tinkerman getting the bullet and Jose taking over.
    It must be said though, that United have competed in the CL every year for just under 20 years. I'm sure Ferguson himself would be the first to admit that they should have won it more than twice.

  • Comment number 58.

    #56 GenesisRed

    But hopefully (hmmm) he is bigger than playing with people's careers just to get back at the guy who pays his wages...
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Nope, don't think he is. He just thinks of himself I would say.

    Ask the Porto fans? Ask the Inter fans? He feathers his nest, get what he wants and then he's offski!

  • Comment number 59.

    Firstly SAF is a legend. Whether he is the greatest manager ever is open to debate, but no-one can pour scorn over 27 trophies in 25 years.

    Regarding his transfer history, remember the likes of Irwin and Schmeichel were so cheap even Fergie admitted being embarrassed regarding what United paid for them. Keane was a record transfer at the time (£3.5 mill) but he was soon surrounded by Giggs, Scholes, Butt, Beckham and The Nevilles who were all brought through the ranks for free.

    A combination of this nuturing of young talent and undoubtably making the most of Premiership TV revenues helped make United into the force they are now. This option was there for all the big clubs, but SAF and the United board ensured they made the most of it.

    Since then, of course they've spent big, pretty much every Premiership club with top-half aspirations has at least one big-money signing, as this is the way football has gone. Yet all the spending is carefully managed, with players shipped out regularly if SAF sees fit. To suggest United have ever 'bought' their success is wide of the mark.

  • Comment number 60.

    @ JamTay1

    "The only British manager who has stood up to Ferguson since the Premier League began has been Dalglish."

    What about Benitez and his "facts?" Truly fearsome and did his team wonders too.

    In my opinion Fergie is that he is the greatest in my lifetime (26 years), but it's very difficult to compare different eras.

  • Comment number 61.

    my point was managing in scotland is far easyier, yes he did well at aberdeen,butby the same token dundee utd won the scotich prem in 1982-83 with then the record points ever! they also made the euro semi final. and in 1986 they got to the final of the uefa cup, so rangers and celtic werent the force they were in early80's,so to talkof fergy breaking up rangers and celtic dominace is also a lil off the mark to dundee utd manager at the time was Jim McLean . not someone well remembered was heon grand scheme of things. my point was if alex started in a english club 80 places down the leagues would he have done so well? and bitter umm no lpool as a force were over by 1990. fergy or no fergy lpool caused there own downfall
    ---------------------------------------

    You are right about 'wee Jum': a vastly under-rated manager but NOT in Scotland. Both Fergie and McLean broke the OF in their own right and become for a short spell the 'New Firm'.

    Since '1893' to the present day only 17 non-OF teams have won the Scottish Championship. Against this backdrop, how difficult would you say it was to guide Aberdeen to 3 championships? The Dons had only 1 league title (1955) in their entire history prior to Fergie. Like McLean, he was the exception to the rule. And while Rangers were having managerial issues during this period, Celtic were not weak domestically at all.

    I think you give very little credit to Fergie and Jim McLean by your arguement.

    And your point makes no sense whatsoever unless you believe that going to ManU somehow did not reflect his ability with Aberdeen. Aberdeen won a ECWC beating Real Madrid and a Super Cup beating Hamburg. The relative strength of the OF is irrelevant and how easy you think managing in Scotland is also irrelevant aginst this backdrop.

    But please feel free to come back and argue that Bournemouth would have been a better test compared to what he already faced in Scotland and that he sghould have started here or in Torquay!

  • Comment number 62.

    Ferguson has done well to survive the slings and arrows of (outrageous) fortune over the years - certainly in his early times before he won his first trophy. He's also done not dissimilarly with knowing when to sell players as Wenger. There aren't too many United (or Arsenal) players who have gone onto better things after leaving.

    I think United are going to feel the pressure from City if City can continue to pile up the wins. It only needs United to trip up a couple of times in the next few matches, and City's lead could move close to double figures. I bet he's wishing he'd been able to get his hands on David Silva! He must be potentially the most influential player in any of the top teams, and I would suggest is perhaps the best.

    What sort of questions did you ask Ferguson, and what sort of responses did you receive?

    Ian Fleming

  • Comment number 63.

    All this hero/legend worshipping from football pundits makes me sick. Ferguson has been a successful manager end of. He might have many qualities but he lives in a parallel world to all of us (see money) and he's full of faults. Not least his tactical weakness. I don't find him remotely entertaining and in that sense he can't hold a candle to Clough or Mourinho or Mick McCarthy.
    And I do think that he has undue influence over many aspects of the game and in that sense I think the Queen should have waited for him to retire before she knighted him. No one dare speak against Sir Alex Ferguson.

  • Comment number 64.

    #53 Andy - when Aberdeen won the European Cup Winners cup they did so beating Real Madrid and Bayern Munich on the way.

  • Comment number 65.

    Regarding the £220k - it's £220k the charity didn't have before.

    The 25 years focuses on his achievements at United - which are seismic.

    Equally seismic was his disruption of the Old Firm before that.

    A success both sides of the border.

    Look upon his works ye mighty and despair.

    Hugh Jorgen

  • Comment number 66.

    I'm not a United fan by any stretch of the imagination but the Fergie is a don, as heresay said "pure and simple"

    And for the United fan who didn't know about Monaco they beat you in 98 I think on away goals.

    Porto also beat you in the 2nd round in 04 not the quarters.

    Its the poor knowledge of things like that that winds real fans of other teams up

  • Comment number 67.

    Well said about Jim McLean Strange_Uboat. Dundee United were also a formidable outfit for the resources they had at hand. I recall a 5-1 (or 5-0) away victory against Borussia Munchengladbach when 3-1 down from the first leg. They also reached the UEFA cup final in 87.

  • Comment number 68.

    #66 Porto beat us in the first knock-out round. So because some United fans get the odd fact wrong it winds "real" fans up? Thicker skin might be required lol;)

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    Dan. Something to tell your Grandchildren, that you interviewed the greatest british manager ever, on the occasion of his 25th Year as manager of ther greatest football club in the world...........does'nt get much better than that mate!

  • Comment number 71.

    Sorry to break up the love in but for me Fergie's in the same category as Maradona, great BUT ...
    When I think of Fergie I think of him on the touchline pointing at his wrist and Keane and co. surrounding and harassing the referee. This was at the same time as Fergie started talking about the refs in his pre-match interviews. This was a new phenomenon, pressurising the referee as a strategy and putting the official in the spotlight. One penalty against Man U at Old Trafford in 10 years or whatever that crazy stat was shows it worked but it's basically cheating and certainly way outside the spirit of the game.
    In the long run potentially good referees who didn't want the spotlight have been discouraged from the game while limelight loving ego-refs have appeared in droves, and discretion has almost disappeared from top level refereeing.
    If you think winning at any cost is OK then Fergie is blameless, if you think sport is about more than that and should have some values beyond capitalist greed then this Govan socialist has a few questions to answer. Fantastic football manager though.

  • Comment number 72.

    #70 - Don't think Dan mentioned Liverpool once!

  • Comment number 73.

    Mike Hunt (No46) its a sore point you raise - for such a rich bunch they should be far more generous... Given Rooney will allegedley spend £2-3K for a night with a prossie!! Speaks for itself doesn't it?

    Tommy Tank

  • Comment number 74.

    QUESTION FOR STEVE McLAREN
    Hi Steve,
    I met u while u were at Wolfsburg. Thanks for taking the time to meet with me and allow me to observe trainings........ " How much do u model your coaching style on Fergie?" ............Cheers, Gareth O'Sullivan (Coach in USA / formerly Iceland)

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    Hi;

    I would like you to ask the great man how he got on with a manager who we at Forest reveered! I accept that Brian Clough Is a peice behind Sir Alex In the who was the greatest - but after the matches that we had with United, I'm sure they would have had a drink together? (well they did both like a tot or two) how did Alex find the inigma that was Cloughie?

    Brian does mention Sir Alex In his book & said that he liked him, we had some great games against man U & we both tanked each other good! did he feel like most that Cloughie would have made a good job of "England"? bearing In mind what he did with what were relative miss-fits & bad boy's! Regards to you Alex youve been a stalwart to the game! Mick

  • Comment number 77.

    Can you make a valid and correct point? This is about Fergie's 25th year in charge, if you even read the article it states he started in 1986. Your point about Liverpool not being on their perch is rubbish, granted he didn't win his first title until 92-93 which is the timeframe you're referring too. But prior to Fergie's arrival Liverpool had won the league 4 out of the past 5 years.

    ------------------

    maybe u sud make a point, altough u make my point,lpool were over as a force by the time fergy made man utd into aforce. my point if u read it was alot of people credit fergy with 2 things

    1- ending liverpool reign, LEAGUE WINNERS AND RUNNERS UP FROM 1987

    1987 EVERTON -LIVERPOOL
    1988 LIVERPOOL-MAN UTD
    1989 ARSENAL -LIVERPOOL
    1990 LIVERPOOL- ASTON VILLA
    1991 ARSENAL-LIVERPOOL
    1992 LEEDS -MAN UTD
    1993MAN UTD -VILLA (SO IN 5 SEASONS LIVERPOOL WON THE LEAGUE ONCE, HARDLY FERGY DIS-LODGED LPOOL (agree they nowwon more titles but arsenal sud be given the real credit

    point 2
    fergy brokeup rangers and celtics domination of scotich league, when dundee utd did it (before replying lookupthe facts

    2-AND

  • Comment number 78.

    At 13:56 4th Nov 2011, Strange_UBoat wrote:

    how u come to say i dont rate what mclean did is strange since im only one to even mention him!!!!my point is other then fergy what other manager ofascotich team done well this side of border .seems history has taught us this. souness and strachen come to mind. besides my point was its harder to get noticed out of 92 teams then around 30 odd hence scotlands leagues and english leagues. no one saidfergy was poor manager the oppersite. my point was only get the facts right. and by suggesting as it was, that fergy single handedly broke up rangers and celtics grip on scotish football was tosh as was that he broke upl iverpools reign who won the league once including the yr man utd first won the league in 5

  • Comment number 79.

    Why does anyone try to belittle a talent such as Fergie?

    Undoubtably great... end of!

  • Comment number 80.

    #78

    I'll say it slowly to help you understand: winning a ECWC and Super Cup with a Scottish provincial club would have got him noticed anywhere at anytime in any league by anyone.

    Try not to give lessons in history before you can master logic.

  • Comment number 81.

    In reference to post #23, if indeed there were sectarian factors surrounding Sir Alex Ferguson's refusal to manage Glasgow Rangers, then why did the man himself, deny this in his autobiography?

    I've followed English football as much as Scottish football ever since my obsession began. I never particularly supported an English team or kept an eye on one specific team but over the years I have grown a likeness for Manchester United, simply because my respect and admiration for Alex Ferguson continues to increase.

    There are many managers you can compare Ferguson to and there will be good debates about who has been most successful. But for the amount of success that he has had, spanned throughout such a long career, I cannot come to any other conclusion other than Ferguson is the best British manager to date.

  • Comment number 82.

    #78
    other then fergy what other manager ofascotich team done well this side of border .seems history has taught us this
    ---------------------
    Scots managers have done very well it seems this side of the border and in England too.

    Here are a few current examples Andy off the top of my head

    Paul Lambert - started with Livingston
    Owen Coyle -started with St Johnstone
    Alex McLeish - started with Motherwell
    Billy Davies - Started with Motherwell

    And here are a few questions for you since you are so 'nationally' inclined:

    When will an English manager next win the EPL?

    Can't remember the last one to do so Andy but with your knowledge of history I'm sure you can fill it in for me!!

    Where have the English managers gone Andy?

    Why do your big clubs, apart from Spurs, not employ them?

  • Comment number 83.

    HE IS THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME period!

  • Comment number 84.

    #81
    The issue of sectarianism at Rangers (and his wife being a Catholic) was mentioned in his book and the issue of the rejecting the appointment at Rangers (and this culture) was discussed in interviews in the Scottish press.

  • Comment number 85.

    At 18:06 4th Nov 2011, Strange_UBoat wrote:
    #78
    other then fergy what other manager ofascotich team done well this side of border .seems history has taught us this
    ---------------------
    Scots managers have done very well it seems this side of the border and in England too.

    Here are a few current examples Andy off the top of my head

    Paul Lambert - started with Livingston
    Owen Coyle -started with St Johnstone
    Alex McLeish - started with Motherwell
    Billy Davies - Started with Motherwell

    And here are a few questions for you since you are so 'nationally' inclined:

    When will an English manager next win the EPL?

    Can't remember the last one to do so Andy but with your knowledge of history I'm sure you can fill it in for me!!

    Where have the English managers gone Andy?


    ------------
    again u missed my point. scotish managers who have won things in scotland other then fergy what have they won this side of border?u seem to twist things.never once did i argue english managers were better! did i? didnt even mentionany english manager or suggest they were better. its just a fact managers who've won cups/titles in scotland come to england and win! plz inform me otherwise over last 30yrs plz kenny cup at celtic dosent count

  • Comment number 86.

    Still laughing about what your point might be, it changes so much.

    Didn't Alex McLeish win the Carling Cup with Brum last year Andy?

    Is your historical expertise contemporary or in the medeival period?

  • Comment number 87.

    yeah a cup that most teams are embrrrased about winning

    didnt he take down an established premier league team despite winning titles in scotland. champ of scotland offered middle rate prem job...and f***them up-- great manager huh

  • Comment number 88.

    goodnight uboat

    win scotish title with top club

    then manager nbational team

    your reward ---------birm city says it all/thanks for playing goodnight

  • Comment number 89.

    Prejudice is usally strongly correlated with lower intelligence Andy.

    Thank you for confirming through your posts that you have a poverty of education.

    Don't thank me its been a pleasure to mock you

    Minter

  • Comment number 90.

    u mocked no-one but urself


    i asked u to name a top scottish managerother then fergy who won titles in scotland then done well in england ---ur answer alex mcleish (brillant)

  • Comment number 91.

    Dementia?

    You asked me this:

    "other then fergy what other manager ofascotich team done well this side of border .seems history has taught us this"

    How many more times must you embarrass yourself? Your parents must be so proud.

    Even I'm cringing for you!!!

    Not really, I'm too busy laughing

  • Comment number 92.

    I think what gets overlooked a lot is that Sir Alex did an incredible job at Aberdeen prior to coming to United. To think that a team like Aberdeen won the Cup Winners' Cup against Real Madrid in the final and beat Bayern Munich along the way is unbelievable. He won ten trophies there in his time and since he left, Aberdeen have never been the same. I know that many will believe that the Scottish league is poor, and I would agree that it has gone downhill, but it was a very good league in those days where the top teams could compete strongly against any in England.

    I think that his achievements in Scotland are just as incredible as his achievements with United.

  • Comment number 93.

    The BBC is going a bit over the top with the Ferguson praise isn't it? The BBC sports pages has virtually been devoted to the wonders of Ferguson on his 25 years in charge of Manchester United. One wonders whether it's a form of 'thank you' to him for ending his boycott!

  • Comment number 94.

    Taxi for Andy.

    I don't really understand your point (although it does seem to change with each post) - of course managers who come from Scotland now are not going to be given the top jobs in England, the quality and competiton between the two are planets apart. This is highlighted by managers that have won the title in Scotland accepting job offers from the lower section of the Premier League (Birmingham). I don't think Alex Mcleish should be ashamed of what happened at Birmingham in the slightest, after taking them back into the premiership they finished 9th - their highest finish in the top tier of football for 51 years. He also won the league cup - which gained them European quaification. Afterall, he did get the Villa job at the end of the season, which in my opinion is a much bigger club.

  • Comment number 95.

    yes in fergy is being blown over the bbc pages. his charater is questionable, his sportmanship is up for debate. and if wasnt for mark robins fergy wudhave been forgotton. how many managers with a bit more luck cud have had same success, we willnever know

  • Comment number 96.

    Another Ferguson-related debate? Boring!

  • Comment number 97.

    Greatest manager of all time? I believe the criteria has to be established before anyone can take that accolade.

    Number of trophies won, creating successful new teams, longevity the list is endless. Sir Alex would be very near or at the top in most of the standards set for judgement but there are also other factors.

    Innovation is one, Bobby Robson introducing the Dutchmen to our game at an unfashionable club, long before others bought in the stars from abroad. Also taking England to a WC semi which we were unfortunate to lose. What about Sir Alf not only winning a World Cup but winning the title with Ipswich. Now that did not seem possible even back then, especially when they were odds on favourites to be relegated that season, the press had written them off before a ball was kicked. Cloughie a magnificent achievement with two unfashionable sides. Paisley, Shankly both magnificent for various reasons and Billy Nic at Spurs, the first to do the double in the 20th century and the first English club to win a European trophy.

    Some great managers there for different reasons. Personally I do believe Fergie is obviously up there with the all time greats but it is extremely difficult to pick just one because each had an entirely different impact on English football.

    There is one certainty about great players or managers, you miss them when they are gone.

  • Comment number 98.

    From the Simpsons Australian episode...

    'That's not a knife that's a spoon'

    'Ahh I see you've played knifey spoony before'

    Classic

    Re the blog... He came he saw he conquered. The best bar none, we will never see the like again. Arise Lord Ferguson

  • Comment number 99.

    jeez, alot of these posts should be on mcnultys ferguson blog,

    220k for charity is still not to be sniffed at, when you consider they were probably bidding on things they dont want (which footballer really needs a 4 grand watch, they've already got one you see)

    and aren't caterpillars fascinating, only last night on frozen planet i was learning more about them

    Malcom Sargeant

  • Comment number 100.

    Fergie's got one already, but as it was 10 years ago I am sure Auntie Beeb can make an exception. Let's face it, Auntie has moved to Manchester (sorry... Salford) and DW never fails to point out that "you can see Old Trafford over there." Sir AF has, with exquisite timing, started talking to Auntie again... and with the show being staged in Auntie's new front room, I can't help but wonder who is going to get the "Lifetime Achievement Award" at SPOTY this year. Kiss, Kiss, Num, Num.

 

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