Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sir Alex - Genius and gentleman ....

Below is a list of trophies won by Sir Alex Ferguson as Manager of Manchester United Football Club in the last 21 years since 1990.

Premier League (11): 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09
FA Cup (5): 1989–90, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04 League Cup (4): 1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10 FA Charity/Community Shield (9): 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010
UEFA Champions League (2): 1998–99, 2007–08
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1): 1990–91
UEFA Super Cup (1): 1991
Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999
FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2008

That is an amazing 35 Major trophies won in 21 years and ….. With a little luck 2 more to add to that list in a few weeks’ time!

Quite simply there has never been a more successful football manager in the long and distinguished history of British football. I suggest there has never been a more successful manager anywhere in world football.

When business authors look for successful people to use as examples of how management and leadership can be perfected I suggest they take a look at Sir Alex rather than the usual suspects from the traditional, boring, stuffy world of business.

I’ve been lucky enough to communicate directly three times in my life with Sir Alex and on each of those three occasions I found him to be a wonderful man who made me feel special. There was no pretentiousness or self-importance we see in some high profile people. Quite the opposite in fact, Sir Alex was genuine, humble, obliging and very kind.

Sir Alex is now approaching 70 years old and has been in charge at Old Trafford, home of my beloved Manchester United since 1986 and shows no signs of losing his competitiveness.

Long may Sir Alex reign at the Theatre of Dreams.


J.KANNAN said...

Hi Trevor,

An exciting and excellent sports credential rarest of rare, I would say, ever held by a genius ad gentleman

A Person of high credential with keeping low prpfile and down to earth attitude, you can hardly find these days with genius and gentleness.

I stand-up and salute Sir Alex in honour of his achievements in Foot Ball and for his simple and humble attitude.

Alex Sir......May Jesus continue to Grace to get more and more laurels with high esteem,prestige and honour and I seek your Blessings Sir.

With esteem regards.


Trevor Gay said...

Thanks JK - Sir Alex has never lost his 'roots' in working class Glasgow, Scotland. As a young man he was a proud Trade Union member always fighting for the underdog against unfair management practices. That's one of the many reasons I hold him in such high esteem. He knows what its like to get his hands dirty and has never forgotten the ordinary person.

J.KANNAN said...

I love this finer and humane qualities in Sir Alex and hold great regards for Sir Alex.


Dale said...

With you all the way on this one. An absolutely phenomenal achievement. And I suspect that he just a down to earth commonsense man who knows how to respect people and earn the respect of people. Hard working and committed, no short cuts, no pie in the sky, just really focused and passionate. A great man indeed!!

Rocky said...

Certainly one of the most impressive records in all of sports or business for that matter. Definately a dominant force.

Mark JF said...

There's no doubting his achievments and even though they're not my team, I applaud them. I'll even put aside my usual objection to the (innapropriate!) use of the word "genius" to make this point.

We look to the world of sport for examples of how to run a business or even live our lives without noting that football lives by an entirely different set of rules.

- Players (who are all on fixed-term contracts) are routinely sold on or shipped out if their form slips. This is not a luxury most businesses have.

- Players who cross the manager (Stamm, Beckham, van Nistelroy et al) are likewise moved on. I wonder if Sir Alex's famous "hairdryer" tirades would be so venerated or even tolerated if he was, say, an NHS manager?

- Players like Wayne Rooney are tolerated so long as they are playing well. What other business would put up with a foul-mouthed, philandering, prostitute-using, occasionally violent, PR disaster zone who manipulated the club into giving him a huge pay rise? And even publicly support him?

- If you're winning, it seems that you can get away with anything. (Remember the notorious Xmas party a few years back? Think that sort of thing doesn't go on any more?!)

- More than pretty much anything I can think of, success brings massive rewards but also provides the funds to buy the top players and perpetuate the success. Contrast this with American Football where the top pick from the college draft is given to the bottom team and they make an effort to ensure the new talent is spread around and no-one can buy success.

But, as I suggested before, by the out-of-the-normal rules of this game, Sir Alex has an extraordinary record.

Trevor Gay said...

Seems to me Mark that's about as close as you can get to prasing the big man ...Your comments make sense to me. I think Sir Alex is a one-off exception to the rule. In my lifetime there has been no football manager like him and I suspect I will not see another. The coming togetehrnof sirn alex and Mancxhester United was timed perfectly - a club in need of the man and the man in need of the club. Perfect harmony.

Mark JF said...

I'd suggest that in your lifetime there have been other managers who you can safely talk about in the same breath as Sir Alex: Jock Stein (Celtic: the first British team to win the European Cup, and with a team of players all born within spitting distance of the club!), Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Brian Clough. And don't forget the man who won the World Cup: Alf Ramsey.

Trevor Gay said...

All great managers I agree Mark ... BUT

None of them get anywhere near the success of Sir Alex in terms of either longevity; consistent success; not to mention the vast number of trophies. You have to admit that they are not on the same level as the big man by objective measurement which I know you rate so highly over ‘emotional’ measures :-)

In ‘emotional’ terms they were all brilliant but not in the same league as Sir Alex.

He is a one-off with a record unlikely to be beaten by any football manager in my lifetime.

Mark JF said...

One of the beauties of sport is that you can have these "Would today's team beat yesterday's?" debates and there's really only one clear answer: mine!!!

Numerically, Sir Alex is in a league of his own.

Emotionally, I'd put Jock Stein winning the European Cup ahead of anything else. And to think he did it with a team of local lads, too. I read recently that Mr. Stein is the man Sir Alex most admires.

And Bob Paisley did what Sir Alex hasn't been able to achieve: he dominated Europe, and probably would have continued to but for the Heysel disaster.

The other lesson, for me, is that both Liverpool and Man Utd have shown faith in their managers and allowed them to work through ropey starts or bad patches. It amazes me that we have this "hire and fire" culture where managers are sacked after a few months if they haven't won every game. How clubs think they can build that kind of culture and continuity in a third of a season is beyond me.

And it's now affecting my favourite sprot, rugby. Proportionally, more Rugby Premiership managers have been fired this year than soccer! Still, I'm off on Sunday to watch Northampton Saints vs. Ulster in the European Cup quarter final. Come on you Saints!!!!!!

Trevor Gay said...

You are right Mark about Sir Alex’s resect for the great Jock Stein – Sir Alex was of course his assistant Scotland Manager on the night Jock died at Anfield – I remember it very well. Bob Paisley was also brilliant but only for a very short time compared with Sir Alex. I’m with you totally on the loyalty to the boss idea. Surely people can see the results with Wenger, Ferguson and I would also say David Moyes. Good luck tomorrow with that ‘other’ football – I will be rooting for Northampton – it’s not far from me …. Even if I know little about them or the game other than it was described once to me as a game played by men with odd shaped balls :-)

Dave Wheeler said...

Trevor/Mark JF,

A great and enjoyable exchange!