Ferguson gets a dose of his own medicine

If you can’t take it, they say, don’t dish it out. And, in his new autobiography, Sir Alex Ferguson has certainly dished plenty out, so he can’t complain at being subjected to quite a grilling from Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow.

Unlike many in the footballing journalistic community, Snow owes Ferguson no favours and equally, he is in no position to benefit from his enduring patronage. So, he was able to speak the recently-retired Manchester United manager with a frankness few scribes have managed down the years.

Ferguson’s management style has often been described as dictatorial, but few people have compared him to an actual dictator, as Snow does, when he likens Ferguson to Joseph Stalin – a man responsible for the deaths of 20 million!

Here’s the excerpt in question:

Sir Alex Ferguson: “Yeah but you have to deal with things as they are at the time. The most important thing about being manager of Manchester United is not losing your control. Manchester United cannot afford for the players to control the club. It wouldn’t be Manchester United. And I’ve said that time and time again to the directors over the years.”

John Snow: “So control is all.”

Sir Alex Ferguson: “It’s not all but it’s really, really important. You have to have control if you want to stay in a job.”

John Snow: “Sounds a bit Stalinist.”

Sir Alex Ferguson: “Jesus Christ!”

John Snow: “I know you’re left of centre but…”

Sir Alex Ferguson: “That’s a bit extreme. The control means the players will respect that, they know who the manager is. If it goes the other way they will have a different view of the manager, they’ll think you’re weak and I don’t think I’ve ever been weak.”

You can read the full transcript of Ferguson’s interview with Snow here.

Further feedback to Ferguson’s book came from his former United skipper, Roy Keane.

The Scot wrote about Keane: “The hardest part of Roy’s body is his tongue. He has the most savage tongue you can imagine.

 “He can debilitate the most confident person in the world in seconds. He was an intimidating, ferocious individual.”
Keane, now working as a pundit for ITV Football, was asked about Ferguson’s attack.
Here is his response: