Anorak

Anorak | The Big Bully

The Big Bully

by | 1st, September 2003

‘NO-ONE can dispute Sir Alex Ferguson’s credentials as a football manager. His success at St Mirren, Aberdeen and Manchester United marks him out as one of the greats.

A miserable old man

However, his credentials as a decent human being are not so well-established – and won’t be helped by David Beckham’s revelations over the weekend.

By all accounts, Fergie is supposed to be good company away from football, either on the race-track or over one of his favourite bottles of red wine.

But it would appear that his passion for Manchester United and his unremitting desire to win have developed into a kind of mania.

Gordon Strachan tells a story of how Fergie would drive around players’ houses the night before a game to check that they were all in bed.

That obsessive attention to detail may be one of the reasons why he has been so successful over the years, but it has now become a serious character fault.

Like Maggie Thatcher, Fergie has been corrupted by being in such a high-profile job for too long. She didn’t know when to go and was pushed; he doesn’t know when to go – but is unlikely to get the shove until too late.

There is no doubt that Beckham would have happily stayed at Manchester United had he felt welcome there. That he did not effectively meant there was never any choice for the club or for the player.

That is poor management, whether the £25m the club got for their biggest asset proves to be good business or not.

And to question a player’s commitment to the club just because, as England captain, he goes with the rest of the team to meet the Queen borders on pathological.

As the chief architect in creating at Old Trafford one of the world’s top half dozen clubs, Ferguson’s legacy is safe.

But for his own benefit, he should definitely leave when his contract expires at the end of next season.’



Posted: 1st, September 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink