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Ince: Ferguson Took Pressure Away From The Players

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!”

For more stories like this, download My Sporting Life: Sir Alex Ferguson for £2.95.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. United Till I Die says:

    Ah, the good old days.

    Who would’ve thought we’d be where we are over 20 years later?

    And its still not enough for some.

  2. WeAreUnited says:

    yeah talk about it United Till I Die

    We Are ManUtd and we’ll do what we want!

  3. Proverb says:

    Robing goal vs nottingham forest might aswell have saved his ass too to the better

  4. Proverb says:

    Robins goal vs nottingham forest might aswell have saved his ass too to the better

  5. TK99 says:

    Well let’s hope Ince’s experience with United will convince his son to join our great Club.

  6. Giles Oakley says:

    As time passes and memories of Paul Ince’s ‘defection’ to Liverpool fade it’s nice to be able to relish once more his contribution to United’s cause between 1988 and 1995, when he was awesome in mid-field, helping re-create that Never Surrender mentality which has been such a hallmark of United over the years. I remember Ince at Crystal Palace in ’92-93 on the run-in to what became United’s first title for 26 years and he was sensational, completely controlling midfield by sheer drive and will-power. People say we’ve never replaced Keano, well one could also say we’ve never replaced Ince (and yes I know all the arguments).

  7. Red Robin says:

    I love those Adidas jersey!

  8. NYDUDE says:

    The shame is Pally and Bruce never played for England!!!!! Great memories of the early and mid-90′s when it was all about grit and determination.

  9. denton davey says:

    Giles Oakley @ 15:10: “People say we’ve never replaced Keano, well one could also say we’ve never replaced Ince”

    It’s pretty much impossible to “replace” great players; but it is possible to use new players to play in new ways. SAF did that brilliantly with CR7/Carlitos/TheWayneBoy in 2007/8. Hopefully, he’s not lost his gambling instinct because I can see more brilliance from five attackers – ahead of Michael Carrick – including TheWayneBoy, RVP, KagawaBunga, Chicharito, DannyTheLad, Nani, AV7, YoungTom, Anderson, and – fingers crossed ! – DarrenFletcherinho (if he can get back his “football genius” mojo).

    That’s a group of ten damned-good players – the big managerial issue is figuring out a system (or two) so as to get the best out of the best of them, while keeping the other five relatively happy with their lesser roles. SAF has done it before so I don’t see that he can’t do it again.

  10. troutalan says:

    Has anyone noticed he’s completely off with his scoring in those
    matches… semi final (first match) 90 losing 1-0.. then robbo equalised, then we
    went 2-1 up.. then 2-2..then 3-2 up then 3-3…

    Final (first match) losing 1-0, robbo equalises again.. 2-1 up sparky, wrights
    2 great goals 2-3, then sparky levels….. phewww

    Sorry for being a train spotter…lol!!

  11. Kagawa The Shirt-seller says:

    NYDUDE says:
    The shame is Pally and Bruce never played for England!!!!! Great memories of the early and mid-90′s when it was all about grit and determination.
    You got it wrong dude. Pally did play for England but not Bruce.

  12. Gentle says:

    The Governor
    Pls one more favor, tell your son to come and enjoy what you did enjoy then

  13. toddstarz says:

    hoping utd to buy your son eh paul. joking aside thats a very high praise from ince

  14. Hamzah says:


    Yes, I remember we went 1-0 down then 2-1 up then 3-2 down the we made it 3-3 to force the reply if my memory serves me right.

  15. Mozza79 says:

    Wow Ince’s memory seems to have gone down the shitter. We were never 3-1 down to Oldham in the FA Cup semi. In fact we were only behind at all that day between the 5th and 29th minutes. We were 1-0 down (Barrett), then 1-1(Robbo), then 2-1 up(Webb), then 2-2(Marshall), then 3-2 up(Wallace), then finally 3-3(Palmer).

    Same goes for the final, we were never 3-1 up. We were 1-0 up(Robbo), then 1-1(O’Reilly), then 2-1 up(Hughes), then 2-2(Wright), then 3-2 down(Wright), then finally 3-3(Hughes).

  16. Mozza79 says:

    Troutalan beat me to it and he was right we went 1-0 down in the final not 1-0 up.

  17. weeeeldrinkadrinkadrink says:

    @Troutalan well said mate,i copped it straight away,how far off he was..Amazing how players memories of games can be so out..I remember Keane’s autobiography being littered with similar slips

  18. weeeeldrinkadrinkadrink says:

    oh and yes,Ince was awesome for us..single handedly dragged us back into games on a good few occassions..I was bitter about him playing for the Mickey’s but i learned to respect the fact,that he spent his best years at United and they were just a pension top for him…


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