Players Past and Present Pay Tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson


Sir Alex Ferguson watches a training session at Carrington in August 2012

United in praise

To mark the unveiling of Sir Alex Ferguson’s statue on Friday, outside the stand named after him at Old Trafford, MUTV spoke to a host of current and ex-players, fellow managers and even a former Prime Minister about the boss…

“I think the manager has been so successful because he’s passionate about Manchester United and he’s a born winner. He knows how to win games, how to handle pressure and how to look after his team and his players. He was like a father figure to me. I moved up from London to Manchester and he always said to me ‘if you’ve got any worries, come and knock on my door – it’s always open.’ I was scared to go and knock on his door because of who he is but he always made me feel as if I was part of a family at Manchester United.”
– David Beckham

“I’ve known Alex quite a long time now and he’s a great guy to be with and has always been a huge supporter and friend to me. He’s one of these people that has a strength of character that immediately marks him out as a leader of people. He’s a great competitor but he’s also got huge integrity, to himself and to what he believes in. Alex is a great coach, but he is also a great leader, a great character, and, above all, for those of us who are supporters and friends of his, a great human being.”
– Tony Blair, former Prime Minister

“Sir Alex Ferguson will probably go down as the greatest manager ever. He’s very driven – he always has been. He does have other hobbies but his main purpose in life is football and winning football matches and that’s what drives him. He’s still as motivated he was 25 years ago. He’s up there with Sir Matt Busby as one of the greats of all time. I think he’s got better and better over the years.”
– Martin Edwards, honorary club president

“It’s an honour that the public get a chance to go and look at the statue and marvel at his record. He’s a very, very capable person and manager and I think the statue will be there forever. It’s a marvellous tribute. When we made the decision to go for him we didn’t in our wildest dreams ever, ever think that it would last as long as this. I won’t see his like again, I’m certain of that. We’re really lucky, and people are really envious of us. He was born to do this job and I’m so proud that I know him.”

– Sir Bobby Charlton

“You can’t say that it [the statue] is not well deserved. The boss has probably got the best club manager’s record ever in the world for what he’s achieved and not just with Manchester United, look at the job he did at Aberdeen [as well]. He’s just got this recipe for success at club management and to be at a club like Manchester United for 26 years… to turn things around, keep rebuilding teams and winning the trophies, well, no wonder he’s got a stand named after him and now the statue. He deserves everything.”
– Bryan Robson

“He’s been the biggest influence on my career so far. He was a father figure from a young age. He enjoys it more than ever. He’s got a team around him that he trusts and works so hard as well – they complement each other brilliantly. Like myself, he loves going out and training and being a part of that with all these young players. He loves coming out and watching and seeing the players develop, he just loves it! His enthusiasm is just as big as it was when I first met him and he’s still successful, so why stop?”
– Ryan Giggs

“To be at this club for so long is staggering. You would never believe it could happen. I’ve said before, United had Sir Matt Busby, now they’ve got somebody who’s replicated his longevity at the club and surpassed his success – you would just never believe it could be achieved. It’s really not something you can put into words, what Sir Alex Ferguson has done for the club. Not just that, it’s the success he’s had, the way he’s played, bringing through young players and the performance levels over that time – everything has been right.”
– Gary Neville

“I don’t remember anybody else being at the top, top level for such a long time. It’s a fantastic thing – you can’t even describe the achievement unless you know what it means. I myself am in this job and I know what it means. His commitment is always there, you never feel that his commitment is weakened. His demanding attitude towards his team is never weakened, his passion for the game has never weakened and that is something you have to admire. What I admire maybe the most in him is his forward-thinking. He is always ready to move with the times and never speaks about what he has done before. It is a job where you need to dedicate your life to football and Ferguson has done that and that deserves massive respect.”
– Arsene Wenger

“He’s been brilliant for every single player that’s worked for him. There is such a hunger and desire about him that really drives his players on – he knows how to keep you motivated, it’s something that he’s managed to do for over 20 years and I’m sure he’ll carry on doing it for the next few years as well. A couple of times [I’ve had the hairdryer treatment], but not often. He’s a scary man isn’t he?! When you’re younger he’s someone you always try and avoid. If you can hear him you just hide somewhere out the way. But as you get a bit older you get used to it and you get a sense of what kind of mood he’s in when you see him, so you how far to take him.”
– Paul Scholes

“He’s unique, especially in the modern day. If you go back many years then you will find somebody like him, but, [it’s amazing] in the modern day at the highest level, where it is really difficult to survive in our job. He’s absolutely incredible at what he does and we can’t even imagine when he’ll stop, he’s unbelievable.”
– Jose Mourinho

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