Four years before signing for Rangers, where he scored 44 goals in 57 games, Sir Alex Ferguson was trying to get himself a professional deal at St. Johnstone. He wasn’t happy there and kept requesting to leave, with him dumped in the Reserves and out of favour.
Then one afternoon he was selected to play against Rangers which completely changed his life.
“I was part-time and in a reserve game against Airdrie I broke my eyebrow, cheekbone and nose and was out for months. They put this massive plaster cast on my face,” said Ferguson. “After I came back from the injury I played three reserve games. We lost 8-1, 7-0 and 9-2. I said ’that’s it – I am finished’. I took out papers to emigrate to Canada. On the Friday, my brother’s girlfriend phoned up my manager at St Johnstone and told him I had the flu. But when I arrived home from a night at the swimming baths with my pals, my mother tore into me. She said, ’I’ve had a telegram from your manager – get down to the telephone booth and call him’. The manager said: ’Report to the Bath Hotel tomorrow, you’re playing against Rangers’. I scored a hat trick and became the first player to do so against Rangers at Ibrox – it changed my life. I became a full-time footballer in the summer and never looked back.”
With Fergie at the swimming baths after ringing in sick for the flu, no wonder the manager has spies out for his players checking they’re not out on the town when they’re supposed to be tucked up in bed!