Sunday 25 February 2018

Revealed: The reason why Alex Ferguson left Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson retired as Manchester United boss in May 2013
Sir Alex Ferguson retired as Manchester United boss in May 2013
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

They still feel the ripples caused by Alex Ferguson's departure from Old Trafford. The shockwaves have yet to subside.

The greatest club manager of all time left Manchester United in May 2013 and things just haven't been the same since.

Back then, Fergie admitted that the death of his wife Cathy's twin sister played a part in his decision - now, in an exclusive interview with the Telegraph, he admits he would be still there if it were not for the untimely passing of his sister-in-law.

"I definitely would have carried on,” Ferguson told the Telegraph to mark the publication of his new book, Leading, about the art of management.

“I saw she [Lady Cathy Ferguson] was watching television one night, and she looked up at the ceiling. I knew she was isolated,” Ferguson says. “Her and Bridget were twins, you know?”

When Fergie first mooted retirement in 2002, it was Cathy who turned his head. This time, there was no will for her husband to go on and Fergie knew his time was up.

The ever-professional Ferguson made sure that every piece of the jigsaw was in place before he left his Old Trafford office for the final time.

 “Even when I knew I was retiring we still tried to put some things in place, with players coming in. Like everything I say about Manchester United, the bus was still moving forward. No one was getting left behind. Everyone was optimistic about where we were going."

So many have tried, and failed, to aspire to match Ferguson. The secret, he says, is down to a culmination of many things but he does highlight getting his coaching badges at an early age and his working class backround as a vital ingredient in his rise to the top.

“My trade union background helped a wee bit,” he says. “You’re trying to help people who are less fortunate. For instance the apprentices’ strike – I had no need to go on strike, or encourage the apprentices to go on strike. We [the toolmakers] were well paid. But there were some people who were married with kids and getting paid tuppence.

“I got my coaching badges by the time I was 24. So when I became a manager at 32 years of age – which was young – I was ready. I had my badges, I had played the game, I think I could make a decision. Thereafter in an industry like that you have to learn or you don’t survive.”

Read the full interview here

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