Sir Alex Ferguson spoke to a group of philosophy students at Dublin’s Trinity College about power, control and success.
“If I lose control of these multi-millionaires in the Manchester United dressing room then I’m dead,” said Ferguson. “So I never lose control. If anyone steps out of my control, that’s them dead. Through my development, I’ve come across two issues – power and control. Control is important, very, very important. My control is the most important thing. The most important person in Manchester United is the manager.”
Ferguson then reflected on his time with Aberdeen, realising he had too much control then.
“I always thought that when I became a manager – and I experienced this in Aberdeen – I had too much control,” he continued. “I was doing everything – ordering the pies, looking after the programmes. It was getting me nowhere. What happens is that you do too much and then you don’t do the important things. Then, the directors start to say ‘He’s too big for his boots’ and stuff like that.”
Ferguson then stressed the importance of handling success correctly and says it is his job to ensure the players do exactly that.
“Over the years, I’ve learned to handle success and treat it very, very carefully,” he added. “I’m used to it but I’m more worried about how the players handle it. I am very conscious of that and always will be. That’s my job.”