Sunday, September 25, 2011

Focus on : Alex Ferguson A decade of Glory 1986-1996

  Sir Alex Ferguson had to walk a long, hard road to become the most successful Manchester United manager of all time. He was born in Glasgow's shipbuilding district of Govan in 1941 and, after leaving school the teenage Ferguson joined the tens of thousands of men who laboured in the yards, as an apprentice welder. But the boy was also turning out for Glasgow's famous amateur club, Queen's Park, and his prowess as a centre-forward outshone his ability with a welder': torch, and he was soon signed on as a professional by Perth's St Johnstone in 1960. After four years there he was snapped up by Dunfermline Athletic, who were at the time one of Scotland's elite dubs. But a boyhood dream came true in 1967 when Rangers, the team he had supported all his life, paid £65,000 to take him to Ibrox. The move did not work out well. Ferguson gained a reputation for truculence, a trait which landed him in trouble with team-mates, opponents, referees and the Rangers management. He was showing early signs of the single-mindedness that would make him such a formidable manager, but at this stage his intransigence saw him transferredto Falkirk, where he had a taste of coaching, and later to Ayr United. Ferguson took his first steps as a fledgling manager at East Stirling in July 1974, but after making an early impact there he was given the chance to manage a bigger club, St Mirren, in Paisley on the outskirts of Glasgow. 

 He took the Buddies to promotion into Scotland's top flight and also energised the club with his forceful personality. Ferguson was so determined to get the local community to back their team, he took to driving around the streets of Paisley with a loudspeaker system bolted to the roof of his car before kick-off, and exhorted the populace to turn up at Love Street to see the game. Despite this level of commitment Ferguson fell victim of a boardroom coup and lost his job. But he had already done enough to come to the attention of a city club who were down on their luck and in need of a thrusting young leader. That club was Aberdeen and Ferguson piloted the Dons to an unprecedented list of honours: three Championships, four SFA Cups, a Scottish League Cup and a Cup-Winners' Cup final triumph over Real Madrid. In November 1986 he was the automatic choice of the Manchester United board to replace Ron Atkinson.
It took some time, but Ferguson vindicated their decision many times over as he turned United into Britain's team of the 1995, made them kings of Europe once again and set them on the way to more glory in the 21st century...

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