It was November 1986. Manchester United were struggling and looking for a new manager. Bobby Charlton recalled watching Alex Ferguson as manager of Scotland. One impression was overwhelming. “It was of a man who had an extraordinary force of personality. When he spoke, or when he danced up and down the touchline, his players took notice. It was a ferocity I knew we needed at Old Trafford.” Ferguson was appointed and a reign, lasting more than 25 years and the longest in the club’s history, began.
Early days at United were by no means successful. Results were mediocre and with the club still lowly in the first division, rumours of a sacking continued… and then were put aside as United surprisingly won the FA Cup in 1990. (Would Ferguson have survived those early years today?)
The record since has been one of unparalleled success as the club became the most dominant force in British football and one of the most popular, and commercially successful, clubs in the world. By Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, United had won the Premier League 13 times, the FA Cup five times, the League Cup four times and the UEFA Champions League twice. Few sporting moments have been more dramatic that the two late goals in 1999 at the Nou Camp in Barcelona which enabled Ferguson’s United to beat Bayern Munich, win the Champions League and clinch the unprecedented golden treble alongside Premier League and FA Cup success. He was knighted in 1999.
In 2012, Alex Ferguson joined the other great figures of United’s history immortalised in bronze outside Old Trafford. A fine larger-than-life statue was unveiled to recognise Ferguson’s contribution to the club’s success over a quarter-of-a-century. Watching his players, arms crossed, fierce determination in his eyes, Ferguson is the Boss.