He may not everyone’s cup of tea but, love him or hate him – and let’s face it the fans of clubs he managed certainly love him – Alex Ferguson, known in the game as Fergie, is one of the most successful managers in British football history.
Ranking second on the all time list of English football’s most successful mangers behind Liverpool’s Bob Paisley, Fergie, over time, actually won more trophies than Paisley but over a much longer period. Paisley only ever managed one club, winning a stunning 20 trophies in just nine seasons, while Sir Alex was the United boss for almost 30 years.
Taking trophies won in Scotland into account, and Ferguson is elevated to the status of the most successful British football manager winning a grand total of 49 trophies collected both north and south of the border and with three clubs.
Hailing from Govan, a famously working class district of Glasgow, Ferguson played for Queen’s Park, St Johnstone, Dunfermline Athletic, Rangers, Falkirk and Ayr United, while enjoying a managerial career at East Stirlingshire, St Mirren, Aberdeen.
Of course, he also enjoyed nearly 30 years at Manchester United where he won everything the game had to offer, rebuilding great sides over and over again.
Fergie bridged old school football with the modern era in a way that others simply couldn’t or didn’t.
No one else in the game could still yield the power with the press and with the game’s authorities in the star studded Premier League in the same was as they had in the good old, pre-Premier League days of the 1970s and 80s.
Never one to massage an ego, this is a man who famously kicked a football boot into David Beckham’s money maker at the height of his modelling fame.
Then, there was the time he recalled three loaned out players from Preston North End as punishment for sacked their manager at the time, Ferguson’s son Darren.
A well as the trophies, the great teams, the power and, let’s face it, more than a few controversial moments, there is something else we will remember about Sir Alex, the things he said.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and recall some of Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest ever quotes.
Here they are.
On the size of little Gary Neville…
“If he was an inch taller he’d be the best centre half in Britain. His father is 6ft 2in, I’d check the milkman”
On the “size” of big Dion Dublin…
“Not just big, it’s magnificent”
On Ryan Giggs…
“I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and just floated over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.”
On Arsene Wenger…
“They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages! I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!”
On Filippo Inzaghi…
“That lad must have been born offside.”
On Manchester City…
“There has been a lot of expectation on Manchester City and with the spending they have done they have to win something. Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour and have to live with it. You can’t do anything about them.”
On Dennis Wise…
‘He could start a row in an empty house.’
On David Beckham’s age at the time…
“As with every young player, he’s only 18.”
On Beckham again and THAT incident…
“It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn’t happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!”
On his main rivalry….
“My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f**INg perch. And you can print that.”
On Fergie time….
“It’s getting tickly now – squeaky-bum time, I call it.” “Football, bloody hell”