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Wednesday 21 November 2018

Alex puts boot into myth of easy success

Martha Kearns

IF THE hundreds of students who packed into a UCD lecture hall yesterday were looking for fast money-making tips from one of the richest men in football, they were sadly disappointed.

This was because Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson assured them there's no easy way to make a buck - that instead it's all down to hard work and determination.

"People always ask: 'Why are you so successful?' And I keep saying to them that I've worked hard. I'm sorry, but there's no other great explanation, there's no other great mystery out there," he told them before receiving an honorary fellowship from the college's Literary and Historical Society.

He also told them, if they were lucky enough to get success, not to let it change them.

"I look at some of my boys, and the Irish boys in particular: they come from a family background and they don't change; their feet are always on the ground."

He was particularly proud of Roy Keane (who, he said, had the qualities to become a top manager) and John O'Shea, as they were able to portray themselves the right way: "Feet on the ground, good manners, wanting to do well. Family men, always thinking about their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters. It's a great quality to have through your life, that you haven't changed.

"There's nothing worse - and I say it to the players - you go home to Waterford or you go home to Cork and your father says: 'That's not my son'. You don't want that."

He said the greatest people to emerge from Manchester United were those who were down-to-earth - like Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton, who wanted normal lives and not celebrity status.

The football manager joins a long list of those honoured by the society, including Nobel prizewinners FW de Klerk, Seamus Heaney and John Hume.

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