Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Sir Alex Ferguson, the fiery Scot who has just recently announced that he will stand down at the end of the season as Manchester United Football club manager after 26 years of taking the club to the pinnacle of the English and European game. During his 26 years at the club, he won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League and two UEFA Champions League titles. Ferguson was knighted in 1999 for his services to the game, he also holds the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen.
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Sir Alex Ferguson
1. Former Pub Landlord
What made this Scot arguably “the greatest football manager of all time” could be attributed to several years of hard work and dedication, as a young man, Sir Alex Ferguson worked his way to the top the hard way, what a lot of people did not know was that he worked in a different sector outside football, starting out as an apprentice toolmaker and shop steward in Glasgow and later running a pub in the 70’s when he was 33, a pub which he renamed Fergie’s with a downstairs bar that he Christened the Elbow Room in memory of his intensely physical style as a player.
“It was a part-time team I took over at East Stirling,” said Ferguson, when he addressed the contrast between himself and Villas-Boas at the same age.
“The players were on about £5 a week and I was running two pubs in Glasgow, so it was a different thing altogether [to Villas-Boas].
“But the one common denominator is that you want to be successful. I set about it in a determined fashion and I wasn’t going to fail.
“I’d chosen that life [as a football manager]. I’d been an engineer and I made up my mind I wasn’t going to go back to engineering.
“So I took all my coaching badges when I was young – 23 – so I had prepared to be a manager.
“It’s important if you want to be in the game that you do that. That involves taking all the courses so you can show anybody who interviews you for a job that you’re ready.”
2. Fascinated with JFK:
It was reported that the former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent him numerous CDs about the assassination of JFK. The two men (Ferguson and Brown) bonded over a shared interest in US politics. In his interview with the Manchester radio station Key 103 in 2007, he said “Gordon sent me 35 CDs on it, which was brilliant of him,” He also added that he kept JFK’s autopsy report by his bed. He also has a copy of the Warren Report signed by [the former US president] Gerald Ford.
3. Gave the lifts to the young Kenny Dalglish:
When Ferguson was playing for Rangers, he gave lifts to the young Kenny Dalglish who was looking for big breaks. “Fergie used to give us a lift into town. He had such a big car,” Dalglish confirmed to Guardian.
4. Not the longest serving manager Ever:
Although Ferguson was manager of Manchester United for 26-and-a-half years, while this may seem like a long time at a single club, this record is nothing in comparison to Frenchman Guy Roux who was the manager of Auxerre for 44 long years, finally stepping down in 2005
5. Told Alastair Campbell to get a masseur for Tony Blair:
Sir Alex Ferguson was a big Labour donor who advised Tony Blair on leadership.
6. Used to jump over walls as a boy:
The Scotsman used to jump over walls as a boy in the poor area of Glasgow where he grew up.
7. 79 seconds of “Fergie Time”:
It has become a well established idea among football fans that there’s something called “Fergie time” which is an extra added injury time by the referee whenever Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United team is losing after 90 minutes to enable them score and equalise, it will be recalled that back in 1999 during the European Champions League, victory was achieved by Manchester United when they reversed a Bayern Munich lead by scoring two goals after the 90th minute. According to BBC reports, it appears that Manchester United were sometimes given extra time when they were losing but this is not unique to Manchester United, although it appears they got more than others
8. Alex or Alec?:
A lot of people in football refer to him as Sir Alec, on the assumption that his Scottish background will have something to do with the way his name is pronounced, while both names were popular in Scotland and England, Alec is generally believed to be more Scottish.
9. The “hairdryer treatment” and “squeaky bum time”:
The phrase “squeaky-bum time” coined by Ferguson himself in reference to the tense final stages of a league competition has been included in the Collins English Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary. Players often talk of the moment a switch is flicked in Fergie’s head, he will press his face close to the you and emit a terrifying torrent of abuse, “The fear of getting the hairdryer was the reason why we all played so well. He was a manager you wanted to do well for.” according to David Beckham
10. Home is called Fairfields:
Sir Alex lives in a mansion in Wilmslow, Cheshire called Fairfields named after the shipyard where his father worked.