Whilst Sir Alex Ferguson now has the safest job in world football, we all know his early years at the club weren’t as smooth running. Despite saving us from what could have been a relegation season in his first year in charge, the performances on the pitch didn’t match that hype that had come with him from Aberdeen.
Paul Ince, who joined United for the 1989-1990 season, has reflected on how Ferguson lead them out of that difficult patch.
“We were getting slaughtered, he was getting slaughtered, but he’d just come in every day and say ‘Don’t listen to what people say, I believe in you’,” Ince recalled. “He’d say it to Pallister, Danny Wallace, and he took all the pressure away from us. He took it on himself but never showed to the players he was under pressure. That’s the sign of a great manager.”
Thankfully, it was United’s run in the FA Cup that relieved some of the pressure, with us winning our first trophy with Ferguson against Crystal Palace in 1990.
“People say if United hadn’t won that game then Sir Alex would have gone,” he said. “I don’t believe that, but it kicked us in to gear. Our league form was patchy but the FA Cup was a fantastic route for us to get some silverware. The final was unbelievable. The semi-final was fantastic, against Oldham, we were 3-1 down, got back to 3-3. The semi-final was hard in itself but the final was amazing. The way the game went, we went 1-0 down, came back to 3-1, then Ian Wright came off the bench to score two to take it to a replay. Then Lee Martin scored the winner. It was great to play at Wembley twice!”
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