It is no surprise that so many former players of Sir Alex Ferguson have become top flight managers, with his unwavering desire to win and be the best, coupled with his impeccably high standards. He inspires this attitude in his players, with his position as boss never questioned.
Mark Hughes, who recently took on the job with the bitters, was amazed to see how things were organised there, following a far more disciplined background at United.
“Every Tom, Dick and Harry was allowed in,” complained Hughes. “People had access to the inner sanctum. The training ground is a working place where we form our skills. It’s a football factory, and most people don’t get to see their mates at their factory, so why should they come to ours? There are certain boundaries that cannot be stepped over. Certain things have been put in place to aid our way of working and create an environment that enables us to run more effectively.”
With Fergie getting on a bit now and Sepp Blatter giving the players more power, there could be the worry that Ferguson was going to get a bit more lenient with our players, particularly in reference to Cristiano Ronaldo. However, rest assured, Fergie is still top dog at United, and his attitude is as fierce as ever.
Ronaldo believes he can decide where he will be playing next season, whether that’s United or Real Madrid, seemingly forgetting that he has a contract with United. Whilst the temptation might be there to take a softer attitude with the star players who contribute heavily on the pitch, Ferguson has confirmed he won’t change his attitude for any player, regardless of how big they think they are.
“If you allow yourself to be affected by the star-status thing, then that’s when your difficulties begin,” said Sir Alex. “You can only achieve success when the players want to please you and not the other way around. Some people fall into the trap of trying to keep players happy all the time and allow powerful personalities in the dressing room to rule the roost, but that’s not management. It doesn’t matter whether you’re managing East Stirling or Manchester United, you have to remember two things. Firstly, you’ve got to have them trying their utmost to win for you and, secondly, you’ve got to have control and discipline over them. Anything else and you’re fighting against the wind.”
David Beckham, Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy are amongst the great players who Ferguson has let go due to a problem in attitude. If Fergie has to do the same with Cristiano Ronaldo, for the benefit of the club, he’ll do so in a heartbeat. However, if he can continue to get the best out of Ronnie, he will stay… but under Fergie’s terms!