Just about twenty five years ago, a man by the name of Alex Ferguson had been setting alight the Scottish Premier League, he had achieved the unthinkable in the eyes of many by tearing apart the age old Old Firm domination on the Scottish territory. Quite naturally a move to an English team beckoned, Arsenal came close to getting him, but it was Man Utd who would eventually get the man who would go and become arguably the most important figure in the club’s history as well as the present.
And so, over to England went the man soon nicknamed ‘Fergie’, the Man Utd board thought he was a good choice and Sir Matt Busbie liked him, the fans were restless for a while before being pacified by a string of trophies in the years that followed eventually forging themselves into cult followers of the Scot. That man’s name today defines the club itself, just as much as the club helped define his legendary status. Over the years, players have come and gone, managers been sacked and then reinstated again, yet one man survives who without doubt is the protagonist to everything ‘Man Utd’. And his legacy would be incomplete without his ramblings, at the opposing managers, to his staff, to the journalists or the hairdryer’s meted out to his players. Here’s an attempt to recollect some of the most famous quotes ushered by one of football’s most famous men.
25. Sir Alex reflecting on Chelsea’s dominant form in Mourniho’s debut season in England.
We are catching them and we just hope the finishing line doesn’t come too soon.
24. Fergie on what he thought of some of the fans.
We have people coming here to admire the scenery and enjoy their crisps.
23. Gaffer in retrospect regarding an argument with Peter Schmeichel.
He was towering over me and the other players were almost covering their eyes. I’m looking up and thinking, if he does hit me, I’m dead.
22. Sir Alex going on about Ronaldo’s goal scoring spree.
I bet him he wouldn’t get 15 league goals and I’m going to have to change my bet with him. If he gets to 15 I can change it and I am allowed to do that because I’m the manager. I’m going to make it 150 now.
21. Sharing what he thought of the Newcastle fans.
They have those fans who are so emotional and fanatical, they expect to win the World Cup.
20. Fergie on a young Ryan Giggs.
I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and just floated over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.
19. Sir Alex quipping after United’s 3-2 win over Fulham in summer 2005.
At half-time it could have been 20-all! But common sense took over, or boring football took over.
Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it’s a better cow than the one you’ve got in your own field. It’s a fact. Right? And it never really works out that way.
17. Fergie on Jose Mourinho during his tenure as Chelsea manager.
He was certainly full of it, calling me Boss and Big Man when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper.
16. Sir Alex at half time to his players in 1996 in a match against Sheffield Wednesday.
What the fuck are you lot playing at? That is the biggest load of shite I’ve ever seen. Not one of you can look me in the eye, because not one of you deserves to have a say. I can’t believe you’ve come here and decided to toss it off like that crap you’re playing out there.
15. In the post match presser after winning the 1999 Champions League title.
It would have been Sir Matt Busby’s 90th birthday today, but I think he was up there doing a lot of kicking.
14. Sir Alex famously quipping about fan favourite Gary Neville
If he was an inch taller he’d be the best centre half in Britain. His father is 6ft 2in – I’d check the milkman.
13. Commenting to the media after ‘accidnetally’ hitting Beckham’s fore head with a shoe.
It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn’t happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing.
12. Gafffer sharing his opinion to a ‘section’ of reporters about Juan Veron.
On you go. I’m not fucking talking to you. He’s a fucking great player. Yous are fucking idiots.
11. Sir Alex on Inzaghi, in what would go and become one of football’s most famous quotes.
Pippo Inzaghi was born in an offside position.
Sometimes we can get too emotional as a club with things that are happening but we are both of a common denominator; we don’t want the club to be in anyone else’s hands. That is the way that the club stands with that. I support that.”
9. Sir Alex after equalling Sir Matt Busby’s record.
I’m privileged to have followed Sir Matt because all you have to do is to try and maintain the standards that he set so many years ago.
8. Famously quipping United’s fixture against Inter in UCL quarter final in ’99.
When an Italian tells me its pasta on the plate I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen.
7. Sir Alex giving out his thoughts on nemesis Arsene Wenger.
They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages! I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages.
6. Responding to journalists about Chelsea’s dominant run during Mourinho’s debut season.
If Chelsea drop points, the cat’s out in the open. And you know what cats are like – sometimes they don’t come home.
5. Sir Alex on the ‘Italian’ mentality towards football.
They come out with the ‘English are so strong, we’re terrible in the air, we can’t do this, we can’t do that’. Then they beat you 3 – 0.
4. Sir Alex to his players before the kickoff in the ’99 Champions League final.
At the end of this game, the European Cup will be only six feet away from you and you’ll not even able to touch it if we lose. And for many of you that will be the closest you will ever get. Don’t you dare come back in here without giving your all.
3. Fergie in delight after completing an amazing comeback win in 1999 UCL final at the Camp Nou against Bayern.
I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. Football. Bloody hell!
2. Sir Alex coining the term that is now common usage about the title run in during the 2002/03 season.
It’s getting tickly now – squeaky-bum time, I call it.
1. Sir Alex responding to suggestions about his future in autumn 2002.
My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their fucking perch. And you can print that
So these are some of the better known/popular Fergie originals compiled from his comments to various people from over the years.
- Fergie XI: The best of Fergie’s best (thestoppagetime.wordpress.com)
- Man Utd’s Generation Next: Can They Keep The Legacy Going? (thestoppagetime.wordpress.com)
- Liverpool: Dalglish plays down Ferguson rivalry (clubcall.com)