Alex Ferguson reveals how an act of complacency in 2002 caused his big career regret
Alex Ferguson has revealed he went on a scouting mission to pick the hotel Manchester United team would use for the 2002 Champions League final - only for his side get knocked-out of the competition in the semi-final against Bayer Leverkusen.
Ferguson had his heart set on leading out his United side in a Champions League final that was to be staged in his hometown of Glasgow, with his plans for the Hampden Park match extending to some extravagant preparations on the advice of his chief executive David Gill.
“I always guard against complacency. It’s a disease, but in the build-up to Hampden that season David Gill says ‘I think you should go up to Glasgow and check out hotels because you know better than any of us’,” said Ferguson, speaking at an event to promote Glasgow’s participation in the Euro 2020 finals.
“So I went and checked out some hotels and was at one between East Kilbride and Strathaven. It would have been ideal for us. It was the perfect hotel.
“On the drive back down to Glasgow I said: ‘I don’t like it. I should never have done this’. We lost the semi-final, but that’s life.”
Ferguson went on to reveal his failure to guide United to the Glasgow final was one of the biggest setbacks in his career, with the disappointment from the Levekusen loss clearly still lingering 14 years later.
“The one that I really regret is not taking Man United there in 2002 when they hosted the Champions League final. The whole build-up was about taking Manchester United back to the final in Glasgow, but we lost to Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-final,” he added.
“We were a wee bit unlucky...we ran out of time. The referee couldn’t understand my time and his time. One of those nights.”