Sir Alex : Life After Management

Sir Alex
Sir Alex watching United at Burnley

Manchester United’s in house TV channel aired an interview with Sir Alex Ferguson on Monday night where he discussed his life after management and his views on the current state of Manchester United. So he discussed what he’s being doing with his time since retiring in May 2013. Which included him recently being involved in Europe’s triumphant Ryder Cup last month. Working with UEFA, going on holiday with his wife in December for the first time ever. He thoughts on Louis Van Gaal and previous encounters with him. The club attracting the top talent in world while still bringing through players from its academy. What feels like not to be picking a team and how does it feel watching the team and not being able to affect the game. His view on this seasons new signings and helping young managers. Finally his thoughts on what the future may bring.

One of the things he talked about was the role he played in Europe retaining The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September. He says it was a fantastic experience and the most excitement he’s ever had outside of the football world. He talks about being on first tee on the first day and last day. He talks about the pressure that is on these great golf players because of the silence when the players are taking their first shot. He says the silence is deafening. I felt tense myself just watching the whole event on TV so I cant imagine what it would have like to be there especially being on the first tee.

Sir Alex with Europe's Ryder Cup Team
Sir Alex with Europe’s Ryder Cup Team

He then goes on to talk about the experience of speaking to The Ryder Cup team before the event starting. He says he probably got more out of than the golfers did but I don’t believe that for a second. Especially the likes of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell who like myself are massive Manchester United supporters. Also like myself have only ever known the Manchester United manager being Sir Alex Ferguson. So I can only begin imagine what it would have been like to be sat in a room listening to Sir Alex giving one of his inspirational team talks. As long as he wasn’t giving the famous hairdryer treatment. He didn’t give much away about what he said to the players, just that he talked about his experiences of being a favourite, which the European team were going into this Ryder Cup. He says there is nothing wrong with being favourites its just a matter of living up to it. Which I think was David Moyes one major problem when he was in charge of Manchester United because he couldn’t get used to the fact that people were expecting his team to win every week. Looking back now I can see that David Moyes was always in awe of Ferguson and Manchester United and I don’t feel he embraced the challenge in the way that Louis Van Gaal has done. I feel with Van Gaal’s attitude is similar to Ferguson in that I’m the boss and we’ll do things my way and if you don’t like it, you know where the door is.

He briefly talks about the updated version of his book, where he says he just talks about some of things he’s been up to in his first year out of management. Like going to The Oscars and actually going on holiday in December for the first time ever in his life. Next he is asked about fighting back being in United’s DNA and the fact that the whole club has to fight back now after last season. He says Louis Van Gaal has made a lot of changes and he thinks that is probably the right thing to do as he’s an experienced coach and needs to build his own team. He’s says Van Gaal is not getting the results people expected but also says he didn’t either when he first came to , he was backed by the club because they could see the work that he was doing behind the scenes and I believe Van Gaal with be given time as well because I they the club and us the supporters can see we’re now going in the right direction. He says he gets on very well with Van Gaal and that he enjoys watching his press conferences because he is very honest which he says is interested. I think we can all say that Sir Alex wasn’t always totally honest in his press conference. There’s a number of times that I can remember Ferguson saying a player wasn’t fit in his Friday press conference then the player would play ay the weekend.

Sir Alex is still involved in a game in a big way due to his work with UEFA where he is Chairman of the coaches association. His job is to speak to UEFA about how the game is changing, if the coaches have any points they want to make to Michel Platini or the UEFA committee. He talks to a number of coaches young and old to get their views on the game is changing, especially the younger coaches because he wants them to have a voice in the game. He also talks about what it’s like not to be picking a team after doing for nearly 40 years. He doesn’t look back as he never did when he was a manager, once he achieved something in the game. His attitude was right that’s done what’s next. He misses the players and the staff at Carrington, especially his morning meetings with his coaching staff where he says they would discuss hundreds of things. He enjoys being a supporter of the club and although can’t go to every game, he does whenever he can but says he tries to stay stone-faced apart from when we score, then I celebrate he says. You should always celebrate a goal. He says he did get annoyed when we lost games to Liverpool and Manchester City last season because these are our biggest rivals and you strive to defeat them. I think all us supporters will tell you that a defeat against a rival hurts a lot more than defeat against anyone else.

Next on the agenda is the new signings the club has made and the fact that Van Gaal has continued the clubs tradition of blooding the younger players in the first team. He says that the supporters respond well when a young player is given his chance at Manchester United and I believe we do, Manchester United will always support their own players especially any young player that’s come through the ranks. Also he covers the face that even if a young player doesn’t make it at United, more often than not they will have a goof career in football. On the new signings it appears that Herrera and Shaw were signings that initially identified while Ferguson was still in charge. With him saying they scouting Herrera a lot after his performance against us for Bilbao in the Europa League. While they enquired about Shaw when he was 16 but Southampton wouldn’t sell but promised United would be the first know if they were willing to sell. He says Daley Blind is a top professional, a common sense footballer similar to what Darren Fletcher was a few years ago. These are the types of players you need because he protects the defence and does the leg work for the more attacking players. Finally says Falcao is the big one and he like the rest can’t wait to see him firing.

He’s asked about his outstanding moment, match in all his time in charge of Manchester United. The European final in 99 was his one outstanding moment and it probably is for all United fans who witnessed. I think that final and that season sums up the fighting spirit in Manchester United’s DNA. I don’t know how many times we came from behind to win games in that season. That squad of 1998/99 just didn’t know when they were beaten. To end the interview he talks about keeping himself busy over the next year with his work for UEFA, leadership speeches and of course being a Manchester United Ambassador.

I think a lot of Manchester United didn’t really appreciate what we had in Sir Alex Ferguson until he was, I know a lot of fans who just presumed that everything would carry on the same without him. I believed this was never going to be the case and was always expected last season would be a tough one but didn’t expect it to be as tough as it was. I always dreaded the day that Sir Alex retired and was devastated when the news was confirmed in May 2013 after there had been a lot of rumours, I just didn’t want to believe them. I really enjoyed watching this interview, the one major disappointment for me was that he was never asked about David Moyes time in charge of United. I think myself and a lot of Manchester United supporters would be very interested to hear his views on Moyes time and why it didn’t work.

About Andrew Hyslop 398 Articles
Creator of Sir Alex Ferguson Way and writer of football books

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