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TRANSCRIPT: Ferguson On Signing Bebe, His Best Player and Retirement

Alex Thomas: Which team do you dread most in the Premier League?

Alex Ferguson: Well the Premier League is such a difficult league, it’s almost tribalism, you can’t dismiss that impact when it comes to winning the Premier League.

I always look at the team that wins the league the year before, you have to be the target to try to work on, it’s up the rest including us to do that and Chelsea are the champions, there’s no question about that. They’ve had a good start to the season and I look upon them as the main danger to us. The games that will matter will probably be the ones against each other, that will matter and last year we lost both of those games and therefore that decided the title I think.

Alex Thomas: When it comes to later in the season and you’re competing in the latter stage of the Champions League, is it the games against the Barcelona’s and the Real Madrid’s that really get you and players excited?

Alex Ferguson: Well the Champions League is the most fantastic competition now. Since they changed it to the group stages to make it leagues, all the previous winners are in the pot, and of course, you expect great improvement from Real Madrid under Jose Mourinho, I expect that to be the case, Barcelona are still the most attractive team and they will be one of the main dangers, Inter Milan the most difficult to beat, so they’ve all got their different qualities, but it’s such an exciting tournament, you can’t help but look forward to it.

Alex Thomas: In all your years at Manchester United, who would you regard as the best player you have managed?

Alex Ferguson: Bryan Robson was an incredible presence in the dressing room and was loved by the players – tactically he was very astute. Roy Keane was a driving force in the dressing room, but they weren’t the best footballers.

Paul Scholes is an unbelievable player, he will always go down as one of the best players of all-time here you’ve had Cantona, you’ve had Giggs and Ronaldo, Rooney… these were fantastic footballers but to try and say who was the best of them all, it’s very difficult.

Alex Thomas: Can you tell us more about one of your new signings this year, Bebe?

Alex Ferguson: Yeah, well, we have a scout in Portugal where we asked him about this young player playing in second division in Portugal. There was a complication apparently in his contract which allowed him to leave to go to Guamaris and he’d only played three of four games and our scouts insisted that we should sign him. It was a bit of a leap into the dark really because we hadn’t seen him play, we sent down one of our scouts down with Antonio from Portugal to see him play in the last game before we signed him and then he comes up and says there’s something exceptional here, we’ll maybe seeing something really special, and so we took the gamble – we took the gamble, at that time, I think Real Madrid and Benfica were starting to move in, it was one of those instinctive things, you have a smell about something and you take it. So he’s joined us but physically, he wasn’t ready, hasn’t done a proper pre-season, so the last few weeks since he’s joined, we’ve been working on him physically. He’s now played one reserve game and he’ll be involved in the team tomorrow at Scunthorpe and you’ll see the progress now.

Alex Thomas: Finally, when will you officially set your retirement date Sir Alex?

Alex Ferguson: Well there’s no date simply because I think that, I’ve said this time and time again, people my age I think retirement is for young people, because they can do something else. When you get to my age then if your health is good, you like to work, simple as that.

Interview with CNN International. Video.

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. Red Devil says:

    You just cant get enough of this man…..
    Sir Alex is God…

  2. chukzy says:

    what more can i say the greatest coach of all time.united forever

  3. theboogeyman says:

    The last answer is what pleases and scares me a bit at the same time lol.

  4. chukzy says:

    concerning bebe i still dont see anything special about that kid,i hope he proves me very wrong

  5. chukzy says:

    @theboogeyman says
    you are correct

  6. Ulster Red says:

    in a recent press conference a reporter asked him a question to do with something 8 years from now, i think it was about our young reserve players like pgba etc, asking will you be excited to mange these guys in 8 years time, he looked at the reporter and smiled and said “ill not be here in 8 years time”….so the countdown is on.

  7. United1990 says:

    I wouldn’r rank Ronaldo with Cantona, Giggs, Scholes, or Rooney. Not on the performance basis but on their loyalty to our club. For some reason, I don’t like it when they ask SAF about his retirement time :( I don’t wanna see that coming

  8. man united says:

    i got inside infromation rounmers havie being flying aroud all day here it is
    neivle ferdinand smalling rafael
    obertan gibson anderson park
    owen macheada
    scunthorpe utd line up
    byrne ganavan mirfin nolan
    wright o connor togwell collins
    watch out for dagnall he has scored 4 goal all ready this season, bebe is on the bench

  9. Red Devil says:

    Are they showing tonights game live ?
    I’d love to see how the kids get on…or is there an online link to the game?

  10. Glory Glory Hallelujah says:

    “I think retirement is for young people” — classic

  11. rooney the new king says:

    for me fergies best player is either cantona or schmeicheal for me, in terms of cantona’s influence upfront and how schmeicheal was basically our entire defence after bruce and pallister partnership broke up.

  12. jespermoses says:

    Really looking forward to the game tonight.I love these games against smaller opposition in old style grounds.
    Barnsley last year was an amazing atmosphere and the United fans were absolutely amazing apart from trying to steal a couple of pies and a few capri suns.

  13. MG says:

    Keep on going gaffer we are behind you : )

  14. man united says:

    aslo you may have read an artcile kuszak wants to leave that is rubbish why. he did the interview with mut v last weak and said he would like to play more and the carling cip is great cos you can imoress the manger. thats all he said

  15. MG says:

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer : )

    Not to be forgotten btw

    We have been truly truly blessed with phenomenal players over the years

    I hope there are more to come

    The shirt is a symbol of defiance – those that do not believe such defiance do not know what Manchester United is

  16. paulo says:


  17. Costas says:

    Sir Alex must have went through some middle life crisis when he contemplated retirement back in 2002. Now that he got it out of his system, he will probably manage United while Kai Rooney is spearheading our attack. :P

  18. Linvoy says:

    *********Here’s a conspiracy theory for you all to consider RE: Bebe*************

    Shock summer signing Bebe moves to UTD for £7.4m – Baffles everyone at OT and around the world why we paid so much for an unknown & unseen player on the recommendation of Ferguson’s former assistant and Portugal’s then coach, Carlos Queiroz and local Scouts.

    So here goes…. During the WC… Nani is mysteriously sent home with a supposed shoulder injury sustained in training…. hours before a “surprise” visit from the Drug Testers. Nani who had unknowingly (i like to imagine) taken some performance enhancing drugs is going to fail the test and be banned indefinitely for 8-12months…. UTD and Portugal lose out big time!

    Knowing the issue… SAF the grand old wizard convinces Queiroz to remove Nani with the injury and also create distractions and problems with the Drug Testers allowing Nani to leave and avoid consequences of a ban.

    As a result… Quieroz is later fined and investigated and subsequently dismissed from post. SAF scurries across to Portugal to his defence as character reference. Knowing he will lose his post but grateful for the deed in allowing Nani to escape punishment…. SAF then pays £7.4m for an unknown player called Bebe.

    Where does it fit together…. well Bebe’s agent to broker the deal is non other than Jorge Mendes… who is also the agent of Carlos Queiroz. Put 2 & 2 together – Mendes cuts out former agent Gonçalo Reis, who had represented Bebé when he moved to Vitória and brokers the £7.4m deal to UTD…. of which a huge proportion goes to Queiroz for getting Nani off the hook….. and obviously some to Mendes for brokering…. and we get an unknown quantity in Bebe…. who may well be decent player or a complete flop…

    …..bottom of the story is… it was all about paying Queiroz off for his drug test evasion tactics for Nani….

    Just a thought…. you heard it here first!!!

  19. Taek says:

    Don’t you dare think of retirement, Fergie! You have an empire to maintain…

  20. Zulu-Malta says:

    I think SOMEONE up there in the sky loves us.
    SOMEONE up there gave us a really good present by the name of SIR ALEX FERGUSON !!
    God almighty, thanks a million for Sir Alex !!!

  21. UnitedVStand says:

    Lol..what about a certain David Beckham..?? Cannot forget him…

    N so is the case with George Best n solskjear… Awesome awesome players.:)

  22. willierednut says:

    Linvoy – Have you been watching loose change?

  23. Ulster Red says:

    either you have lost the plot or a bit of a genius
    im going for the former

  24. parryheid says:

    Well we have a scout in Portugal and we asked him, So much for the punt in the dark for an unknown.Hah

  25. Linvoy says:

    @Willie….ha i have they were my inspiration for coming up with other crazy shit!!

    @Ulster definately the former… i lost it years ago!

    During the Summer me and my pal were discussing the signing of Bebe…. in light of the other deals supposedly floating around at a lot less money (Ozil / Cole / etc) and wondered why we spent what seems like so much on an unknown player!!

    As a joke i came up with this conspiracy about it being to do with Queiroz and Nani and the drug test debacle… but i couldn’t finish it cos it didn’t make sense…. then today when the newspapers came out with this:

    It made the story a bit more cohesive… with the amount of money / Queroz / Nani / Drug test / dodgy agents and Bebe…..

    Listen crazier stuff has happened in football… esp with dodgy agents involved.

    Maybe i’ve got too much time on my hands….. but it would be really funny if it was in fact true…. and even more so if then Bebe actually turned out to be a World Class player!!

  26. Costas says:


    Odds are that you are crazier than Craig Bellamy. :P But I won’t completely rule it out. I love conspiracy theories!

  27. Utdforever says:

    @ chukzy 17:19

    How many times have you watched Bebe play and in what matches do you base your opinion?

  28. Tom says:

    Nice interview. Encouraging about Bebe. Hope he gets a run tonight. Is Fergis not at the game purely to scout Valencia or is there another reason?

    When he starts naming some of the best players he had at theclub, it reminds you of some of the talent and the characters United have had. Its Keane or Scholes. Both incredible in very different ways.

  29. redrider says:

    Linvoy – Nice work man!! :-)

  30. Mickjk says:

    Some beatch will pick that up tomorrow and when you type manchester united into google news there’ll be conspiracy headlines. Fergie won’t talk to all sorts of news papers forever. Wait to you see when it’s revealed that Carlos was promised his job back at OT. Its where he belongs IMO. Good conspiracy. Does really make you wonder about all the dodgy dealings that go on. The politics of Football. As for agents, what a load of old shit. They should be done away with. It’s these fuckers who drive the prices up by telling this stupid footballers they deserve 250,000,000 a week. Get rid of Agents and pay players 10 grand a week. It would do us all a favour.

  31. McQueen says:

    Haha Linvoy that is a brilliant conspiracy theory! I mean that whole Nani world cup saga is very perplexing and you get the feeling something dodgy went down, but to link it to the Bebe transfer is genius lol. I think Bebe is genuinely a good prospect though and I believe that we wanted to sign him, but I wouldn’t put it past them all the same!


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