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Condor
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Sir Alex Ferguson

Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:00 am

PART 1


His life

Alexander Chapman Ferguson was born in Govan, a tough neighbourhood in Glasgow on December 31st 1941. After leaving school, he started an engineering apprenticeship on the Clyde shipyards.


His Playing Days

During those apprenticeship years, he was a regular in both the Queens Park and St Johnston clubs; part-time, part-amateur teams as most Scottish teams were at that time. He was a centre forward renowned for his tough play and heading abilities. He scored 16 goals in 31 appearances of Queens Park before moving to St Johnstone. In 1964, St Johnstone famously beat Glasgow Rangers with the young Ferguson scoring a hat trick.  Not surprisingly, he turned professional when signed by Dunfermline following that performance. In 1965, Dunfermline reach the Scottish cup final but following a bad performance in a league match Ferguson was dropped for the final which Dunfermline lost 3-2 to Glasgow Celtic. In 1967, Alex signed for his boyhood club Glasgow Rangers, in a then Scottish record deal of £65,000. In 1969, he was blamed for a goal the team conceded in the Scottish cup final and despite the win was demoted to the reserves. It was reported that that upset the young Ferguson so much he threw his winners medal away. Thereafter he was not a regular starter in the Rangers team and in the 1969/70 season he had moved to Falkirk and finally to Ayr United in 1973.


Early Management

In 1974, he retired from playing and took up the post of manager of East Stirling. His managerial skills were quickly recognized and he moved to St Mirren whom he managed until 1978 when he was dismissed after a public argument with the chairman.

Aberdeen offered Alex the position of Manager. The first step that created the "Fergie Legend". Aberdeen were an average Scottish premier league club which was dominated by the big two Glasgow clubs. Both Rangers and Celtic were perennial winners of league and Scottish cups. Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen broke the mould and the Glasgow stranglehold on silverware and eclipsed by his 1983 success in the European Cup Winners Cup with a final win over Real Madrid.

Such success on limited resources and the style of play that Alex introduced at Aberdeen soon attracted the attention of Europe's bigger clubs. Glasgow Rangers, Barcelona, Arsenal and Tottenham all courted the new man on the block. However, when the offer came from Manchester United the opportunity was too much to resist.  On November 6th 1986, United annouced a new manger.


His Inheritance

The club Alex Ferguson inherited from Ron Atkinson was in turmoil. The club had a reputation as a drinking club and despite a buying policy that attracted big names in British football languished mid table of the English top league. Manchester United were glamorous but were bridesmaids to dominant teams like Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and a remerging Arsenal. United had failed to win the league championship in 20 years and were known as a cup team having appeared in 6 FA cup finals during those years. Despite playing attractive football under Tommy Docherty and later Ron Atkinson the club's league position had been for the past 10 seasons only in the top half of the table. The club had finished 4th for the past 4 seasons but by October 1986 were languishing near the foot of the table.

His first goal was to stabilise the club and in his first season, the club finished in 12th place. Many saw that as a failure after his successes in Scotland and there were many that feared failure in the coming season.

In his first full season (1987/88), United climbed back and finished second to Liverpool in the league, narrowly lost to Arsenal in the 5th round of the FA Cup and reached the quarter finals of the League Cup

Signs looked good but the underlining problems that were inbred inside the bridesmaid club remained. Optimism did not achieve results however and the club finished 11th in Alex's second full season (1988/89). Was the writing on the wall? It is reported that Sir Matt Busby, President of the club, argued that Alex was the right man for the job and that he should be given more time.

United had been, during the Sexton and Atkinson years, a buying club and during the past 5 seasons had gradually reduced the youth systems. Alex quickly re-established the United youth doctrine, founded by Sir Matt, and launched a massive nationwide search for youth talent and invested in the clubs youth training facilities.

Alex's next major task was to weed out and replace the drinking culture within the club. Under the champagne-charlie lifestyle of Ron Atkinson, many players had reputations as hard drinkers. Club captain Bryan Robson and stars Paul McGrath and Norman Whiteside were the leaders of the pack. Alex first move was to stamp down hard by introducing tougher club policy on personal lifestyles and those that did not heed the new line was ousted. Paul and Norman were the first casualties and were sold to Aston Villa and Everton respectfully. Gordon Strachan soon followed.


Difficult Times

New players were introduced in a short term buying policy with Mark Hughes returning to the club, after being sold by Atkinson, and established star names like Gary Pallister and Paul Ince and lesser-known talents like Steve Bruce and Brian McClair joining the club.

The sudden in and outflux of players disrupted the team and team moral and the following season (1989/90) saw United results all too familiar to the United faithful. The "hard work first" ethos also saw United playing at times unattractive football the fans were not happy. The rebellion took voice in January of 1990 following a humiliating defeat to rivals Manchester City. A protest after the 5-1 defeat rang to chants of "Fergie Out!"

By March of 1990 rumours were abound that Alex's job was on a knife-edge. United had no hope in the league, languishing mid table, and only success in the FA cup would save Alex's job. The turning point came from one of Alex first youth players a diminutive striker called Mark Robbins. United had met some big names, beating Forest in the 3rd round and Newcastle in a thrilling 5th round game but had also struggled in the competition narrowly beating lowly Hereford in the 4th round by one goal to nil and needing a replay in the Semi final to overcome Oldham Atheltic. In that replay Robbins scored the most important goal of Alex's career and United's future. Although chairman, Martin Edwards, later denied it, there was strong speculation that if Alex had lost that semi final he would have been sacked. We didn't lose, Alex wasn't sacked and United went on to claim Alex's first triumph for United despite needing yet another reply in the final against Crystal Palace. In the league we finished 13th, only 5 points above the relegated teams.

The rest as they say is history. The following season United claimed only our second European cup win played in a marvellous final in the Cup Winners Cup against Barcelona. In the league, United finished 6th.

In the final season of the old Football League, United narrowly lost to Leeds United after looking favorites to secure our first championship for 25 years. That season we won the League Cup but in the 6 league games after that Wembly success United only picked up 7 points from 18 to finished 4 points behind the Yorkshire club.

The out chants were long gone, the club were beginning to see blossoming talents coming through the youth ranks with players like Ryan Giggs emerging and the youth team, including future greats like Gary and Phil Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt succesful in the youth league. The club was on the right track... the difficult job of not only managing but turning around a great club seemed to be just one step away... it needed just one small step to complete the transformation... one small step for Cantona... one giant leap for United.


....to be continued....


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Lawman
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:21 am

OH Yes

Brilliant



reddevil_kim
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:58 pm

great manager 21 amazing years hopfully many more


I'm Back!........

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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:24 am

Brilliant read...........Came in and re wrote the history books. Long may it continue.



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waseem18
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:15 am

One of my favourites....



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Alistair Hay
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:18 pm

a great read!

remarkable that United finished in completely different positions in the league in successive seasons when SAF came to the club. it's really astonishing.


a toast..

..to the great..

..Mark Robbins! ;)


Who Takes The Prize?
Who Takes The Fall?

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MobileNanny
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:28 pm

Alistair Hay wrote:a great read!

remarkable that United finished in completely different positions in the league in successive seasons when SAF came to the club. it's really astonishing.


a toast..

..to the great..

..Mark Robbins! ;)
I remember that moment so clearly-the one that was supposed to have saved Sir Alex his job(which Sir Bobby Charlton has since said was rubbish!). Mark Robins-thank you!!!


1966 was a great year for English football. Eric was born!

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liz jomaa
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:11 pm

waseem18 wrote:One of my favourites....
the article or fergie :P

terrific condor....exellent piece.



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Philip
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:01 pm

What a man... the great Sir Alex Ferguson (Y)


Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs, running down the wing,
Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs, running down the wing,
Feared by the blues, loved by the reds,
Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs

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waseem18
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:19 pm

liz jomaa wrote:
waseem18 wrote:One of my favourites....
the article or fergie :P

terrific condor....exellent piece.
lol the article of course! Fergie is peerless...



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yusongo
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:49 am

Thanks Condor great read


"Keep the flag flying, Jimmy."

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Condor
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:12 pm

Thanks guys. My new year resolution is to finish Part 2...

but I guess you all know what happened next so no hurry. :P



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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:25 pm

(Y) Great article Condor



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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:38 pm

wow condor. thanks! i love you more and more.... :twisted:


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Matt
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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Mon Dec 24, 2007 7:58 pm

Great read Condor,

A question to the ones that remember Sir Alex moving in, ever thought he wasn't good enough? Did you ever imagine his success? I only remember his success, so I'm always astonished when I read some of the story.


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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Wed Dec 26, 2007 9:28 pm

S.A.F. > G.O.D :d


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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Wed Dec 26, 2007 9:54 pm

Muziq wrote:Great read Condor,

A question to the ones that remember Sir Alex moving in, ever thought he wasn't good enough? Did you ever imagine his success? I only remember his success, so I'm always astonished when I read some of the story.

I can remember all the hype about it being his do or die game, the papers were full of it, baying for his blood. i can also remember saying to a few mates, that we should be giving him more time, thank heavens Bobby convinced the board to give him that time. TBH I don't think he would've done then anyway, the rumours wre of he would go, not who would be coming in, which was normally the case with United



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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:27 am

yes....like muziq.......i've always wondered...........when utd weren't doing too well under sir and the rumors were abound about sacking him.........what were ur feelings??ppl who have been utd fans from before........did any of u think Sir must go??? did u shout fergie out along with the crowd??? did they actually chant that at OT???

i only remember us doing quite well.......reading and seeing bits and pieces of us narrowly losing out to leeds .....about ince, robson, hughes, brucie and pallister and parker.....and later on how giggsy and the other kids were coming along......u will not be judged of course even if u were one of those chanting fergie out for the times must have been tough then....esp pool doing so well that decade.............lawfan......graham...others???


"I play to fight.....the idea of losing" - Le King Eric Cantona

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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:49 am

Well presented Condor,can well remember some of the early stories about SAF and how lucky we were to stick by him in his early years.Look forward to your next part to the story. (Y)


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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:15 am

I just think it's amazing in this day and age that SAF has lasted the course. The shelf life for any manager nowadays is what, say 3 - 4 seasons, and yet he is still going (stronger than ever) in his 22nd year. To me SAF is a complete on-off and his like will never be seen again. We should all feel extremely fortunate to have had him for so long.



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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:32 am

it is a wonder he ahs lasted so long.........but then we have to thank our club and SIr bobby and SIr matt who asked the club to let SAF carry on....that is a turning moment in our history


"I play to fight.....the idea of losing" - Le King Eric Cantona

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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:01 am

Muziq wrote:Great read Condor,

A question to the ones that remember Sir Alex moving in, ever thought he wasn't good enough? Did you ever imagine his success? I only remember his success, so I'm always astonished when I read some of the story.
I was still pubbing it in those days, I used to camp at this boozer in Adelaide called the Gilbert, there was a crowd of us, 4 scousers, and me and a gang of Belfast lads who were United fans, the nickname the scousers had for us was "Alex Ferguson and the Easybeats"

One of the Irish blokes actually predicted he would become a manager on par with Matt, mind you this feller had inside information, he was great mates with Bestie and was responsible for bringing George to Australia, George said at the dinner I went to with him there was something different around Old Trafford, he told everyone United would be taking over the crown from Liverpool

All I wanted was to see United win one more Title before I died, that's how unlikely it was back then, even when we finally won it I still wasn't sure we had



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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:25 am

Thanks for the brilliant read Condor! ;)


[center]2OLEGEND[/center]

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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:06 am

thank you for the amazing read, condor!

now every single one of us loves alex ferguson...!



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Re: Sir Alex Ferguson

Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:29 am

thanks again condor, excellent read!



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