As a Manchester United fan, I hold the highest regard for Sir Alex Ferguspon. The Gaffer has recently turned 70 (Dec. 31st 2011), and I came across some quirky facts about him on the net. Sorry, SAF, you know we all love you!
Sir Alex Ferguson is unarguably one of the greatest managers in the world.
A lot of people have already appreciated the trophies that Sir A.F won, the standard that he set for Manchester United and the generation that he built for Manchester for past decade yet we do not see much of his established quirks on the bench.
We all love the old lad but down the years we’ve noticed some fine quirks:
1: Lobbing chewing gum – Full time whistle goes, Fergie is quick to hurl his used up Wrigley’s with contempt at the turf. He then shakes hands with the opposing manager, probably with sticky gum covered fingers. In the past, tourists on the stadium tour used to collect the discarded gum and sell it on Ebay.
2: Retching constantly – Look at when the TV camera cuts to Fergie on the bench or touchline – 9 times out of 10 he’s coughing his guts up. Must be the result of standing on a cold dugout for the last 40 odd years.
3: Heading the imaginary ball – When a United player gets a good chance in the box, usually (but not always) a header, Fergie does an involuntary heading motion to an imaginary ball.
4: Twitching of the head – It’s subtle and you’ll need to watch closely. You’ll see a slight turn to the side, usually accompanied by what looks like him muttering “Aye, laddie”. Perhaps it’s a muscle strain brought on by all the gum being chewed?
5: Saying “well done” – At the end of an post match interview, as in “Well done for nae asking me any stupid *** questions ye dozy ***”. Cringe worthy stuff, makes the interviewer feel like a ***, which let’s face it, he usually is.
6: The uncomfortable Press Conference – In his long years of tedious pre/post match Press Conference’s Fergie has grown to loathe them with a passion. The phrase “getting blood out of stone” was made for Fergie media sessions. Peppered with uncomfortable silences, denials and simmering rage, Fergie is like a man with a bus to catch. The Govan-er treats media hacks like a headmaster with a class full of under 7’s. This attidude can spill over into the above quirk as well.
7: High profile swearing – All managers swear but they do it behind closed doors or non recorded. Few, if any gaffers in the modern game lash out the obscenities to journos and interviewers the way Sir Alex does. Prime examples include: “Knocking Liverpool right off their *** perch” (2002) “Football. Bloody hell” (Nou Camp 1999), “He’s a *** great player, yous are all *** idiots” (Veron), “That’s absolute ***” (after beating Chelsea 1-0, 2005). He has yet to use the word c-word yet but there’s still time yet….
8: Looking at his stopwatch – the classic Fergie ritual and though much mocked is a great bit of mind games. No referee will ever diddle United out of time because they know the hair-dyer from hell is on it’s way.
9: The small celebratory jump – When United score a goal Fergie will sometimes do a bizarre mini-jump celebration. He jumps with joy, then it’s as if he realises mid leap he’s went too far and holds back reducing it to little hop. As a goal celebration it is somewhere inbetween the Martin O’Neill full-on mega-jump and the Sven Goran Eriksson “not even getting up off the bench, I’m so lacking in emotion”.
10: Boycotting the BBC – They accused him and his son of crooked dealings a while back so he’ll never speak to them again. This has allowed us all to witness the inspirational personality of Carlos Queiroz in post match interviews. Fergie is the only manager in the country to snub the Beeb and to be fair he’s every right to given Motty, Lineker, Hansen and co the finger as there was no conclusive proof of wrong doing. It doesn’t help that BBC football is littered with Liverpool bias anyway and Fergie has had run-ins with Motty and Alan Green in the past.