Archive: Sir Alex Ferguson speaks to FourFourTwo
Back in 1999, roughly halfway through his reign at Manchester United, the newly-knighted Sir Alex Ferguson granted FourFourTwo a rare interview at UnitedÃ¢ÂÂs then training ground, The Cliff. In it he speaks about the future of his Treble-winning team, how he stays motivated after achieving so much, and what he looks for in a player.
Talking openly of Ã¢ÂÂthe family feelÃ¢ÂÂ at United, Fergie acknowledges how his authority had been established through Ã¢ÂÂtime and controlÃ¢ÂÂ. Clearly he recognises the value of continuity within the team and club: Ã¢ÂÂThe one thing a player always respects is when he knows the manager is going to be his manager the next day.Ã¢ÂÂ
However, when a team struggles, uncertainty about a managerÃ¢ÂÂs future Ã¢ÂÂdilutes the control of the whole place.Ã¢ÂÂ It is a feeling that he admits to experiencing first-hand, thinking back to his darkest days in 1989 and describing Ã¢ÂÂthe unavoidable feeling, percolating throughout the team and the clubÃ¢ÂÂ that his influence was on the wane.
The interview is a fascinating look back on an exciting time at United, especially with the benefit of hindsight. Ferguson speaks of how the club expected Ã¢ÂÂthe likes of Scholes and Butt and Beckham and the Nevilles and Giggs to be peaking in the next five years.Ã¢ÂÂ
On the other hand, FergusonÃ¢ÂÂs attitude towards wages shows how different things were at the tail-end of the last century. Noting how "until this summer United's wage structure limited its playersÃ¢ÂÂ basic pay to around a million pounds a yearÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ now roughly a month's wage for Wayne Rooney Ã¢ÂÂ he fears being left behind financially by Italian clubs, perhaps not envisaging the financial power rival English clubs would come to wield.
Ferguson's somewhat guarded approach to the media means that in-depth interviews with this managerial legend have been scarce. It's a fascinating piece, yet another we've uploaded from the magazine to the ever-expanding online archive. EnjoyÃ¢ÂÂ¦