Alex Ferguson admits using migrating Canadian geese to motivate Man United players
Alex Ferguson has explained one of the stranger motivational speeches he gave to his players while in charge at Manchester United.
Ferguson, who was speaking at Dublin’s Convention centre alongside Rory McIlroy and MC for the night, actor James Nesbitt, during the An Evening with Rory event, described to a captivated audience some of the methods he used to keep his charges sharp during a glittering career at Old Trafford.
According to the legendary manager, complacency in any sport is a ‘disease’ and something he implored his players to never fall victim to.
He recalled one occasion when he used one of nature’s great migrations to convey to the United players that retaining their Premier League crown was, in the grand scheme of things, not too big an ask.
“It’s one of my great stories at United," Ferguson said. “I had a pal whose cousin had a farm in Canada, and he was telling me about geese flying from Canada to warmer climates in the winter and I said ‘that’s a great story’.
“So it was the first game of the season after winning the league, I was telling the players about these geese who were flying 4,000 miles from the sun in two Vs, and that the ones in the second row don’t fly and then the others take over - that’s team work.
“'Now these bloody geese are flying 4,000 miles just to get a bit of sun, and I’m just asking you to play 38 games and win the league,'” he explained.
Ferguson went on to say that he was very fortunate at United to consistently work with players who shared his ravenous appetite for success.
“Sometimes there’s that something inside you that makes you go the extra mile. I was very lucky because I had heaps of players at United who went the extra mile, and that work ethic was so very important.”