30 things we miss about Alex Ferguson
It's 30 years on from his first Manchester United match, so let's remember the great Alex Ferguson.
For Ferguson, the ball was never meant to be passed sideways. His teams were built to attack.
2. The Cough
The little nervous tickle in the throat that was there in every public utterance.
3. No Question About That
There was never any equivocation with Ferguson, whether it be about the best ever Scottish full back or the finest vintage of Bordeaux, his opinion was definitive.
4. Mind Games
No-one played them better.
5. Fergie Time
Pacing the touchline jabbing at the face of his watch with his finger, the pressure applied to a referee was never subtle.
His versions of the Great American Songbook provided the soundtrack round Carrington for years.
7. Asking opposition managers whether they’ll have a glass of wine with him
The journalistic fall-back question is now redundant.
8. Pro-Scotland comments
This week of all weeks he would have been full of them.
9. Promotion of youth
He regarded it as an absolute requirement of management to nurture the next generation.
10. Friendliness to staff
He knew everyone who worked at Manchester United, and made time for them all.
No-one dished out media prohibition with the relish Fergie did. No journalist on the Manchester beat could consider themselves to have done their job properly were they not banned by Fergie at some point.
12. Finding Ronaldo
How the current United could do with that as an asset.
13. Bringing Paul Scholes back
14. Regarding John Motson as a dangerous subversive
Nobody was as alert to media bias.
15. Playing weakened teams in the League Cup
He was the first openly to acknowledge that the best way to treat the competition was as a training exercise.
16. Getting United to Champions League finals
Three times in four seasons seems impossible in a time when the current side loses away at Fenerbahce.
17. Overcoats with zip-up inner linings
Never mind the clocks going back, you could judge the seasons on the first appearance of Fergie’s quilted touchline warmer.
18. The dad dance of victory
Not even Ed Balls could jig with such joyful lack of rhythm as Fergie displayed when celebrating a goal.
19. 13 Premier League titles
A haul that will never be overtaken.
20. Chewing gum
Manufacturers face financial ruin now he is no longer munching in the technical area.
It was impossible to survive as long at the top as he did without adapting, and Fergie changed everything as time went by.
22. Refusal to stand still
Just because something had worked for him before, it didn’t mean it would work again.
23. The hairdryer
It might have been visible less and less as he mellowed with age, but its potential use always lurked in the back of everyone’s mind.
24. Touchline mimes of horse riding
Nobody clippity-clopped with his enthusiasm.
His favourite word, used in every circumstance. The challenge for United managers to come is living up to the standards he set.
While giving every appearance of being a control freak, Ferguson confidently passed responsibility to those he trusted.
27. Genuine partisanship
He really did understand what the fans felt about rival clubs. And he shared their antipathy.
28. Texted commiserations to sacked fellow managers
Ferguson was always the first to offer sympathy to his peers the moment they were shown the door.
29. Keeping things behind closed doors
This was not a manager who would verbally hammer a player for suffering from a niggly injury.
His very presence on the touchline imbued every team he put out with authority.