Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • [MUSIC]

  • The greatest coach in the history of professional sports Sir Alex Ferguson.

  • [APPLAUSE] >> Thank you.

  • >> [APPLAUSE]

  • >> You're looking very dapper tonight.

  • >> Thank you.

  • >> Yeah.

  • >> My mother looks after me well.

  • >> [LAUGH] Looks like we're the only two who got dressed this evening.

  • >> [LAUGH] >> So what would you do, Sir Alex,

  • if some of this scruffy mob here showed up and

  • were players, and wanted to get on the Majesty United bus?

  • >> Well, first I was a coach, everyone had to have a short haircut, all shaven.

  • I don't know how managers allow players on the bus with a beard, that's not for me.

  • >> Mm-hm.

  • >> [LAUGH] >> Now, whether

  • If I've not lost my strength, if I would allow that.

  • But what I did like to see was my team coming to a ground with the United

  • blazer on, white shirt and a tie because they're representing Manchester United.

  • >> And what would you do if they didn't show up like that?

  • >> Well, I think it's part of the education you have to give them.

  • The responsibility they have as an Manchester United player.

  • And it's just a discipline.

  • And I think that was a strong disciplined United.

  • And it's still today.

  • Even Louis van Gaal, all smart, I know it's a the boys that are not

  • playing sit in the back of the director's box, blazer and flannels on, I like that.

  • That's for me. >> [LAUGH]

  • >> I'm sorry you guys with the beards.

  • >> [LAUGH] >> You recommend a shave, would you?

  • So did you see the game on Saturday?

  • The Everton game.

  • >> Yep. Yep. >> What'd you think?

  • >> Did very well.

  • I thought it was going to be a difficult game actually, and

  • I saw Everton did all the strongest team out.

  • You know, and I thought this is going to be a difficult game because the last I

  • think they've lost the last three years there, but they won very comfortably.

  • Complete control, the way they change the system a little bit.

  • I thought Evan couldn't handle it.

  • So, I was pleased, because after,

  • the great test of any Manchester United team is how you recover after defeats.

  • There was three-nil with Arsenal, a bad defeat.

  • They come out at the next game, win.

  • And that's the best way to answer the critics and

  • also to show the resolve and the determination to get over a defeat.

  • Because it's not easy at Club United.

  • When you lose you're front page, when you win you're back page.

  • >> [LAUGH] >> It's a difference.

  • >> Better to be on the back page.

  • So, there are, I think if I counted correctly, there were 8 of the 18

  • players who showed up, who were in the squad on Saturday.

  • Were players that you had signed.

  • How long does it take to knit everybody else together into a really cohesive unit?

  • Is that a matter of years or can you do it in a season?

  • >> Well, if you're talking with the present court of players

  • >> And five last season, five this year,

  • and that's difficult.

  • Particularly, the players they brought in were players from other countries.

  • The division's very difficult, really difficult.

  • When we brought players in from abroad, we always gave them first season,

  • forget it, second season, okay.

  • But one or two excelled, surprised us by doing really well at the beginning.

  • In my time, the thing that was different from me and

  • Louis Van Gaal of course is that I had longevity.

  • I was there 27 years.

  • So when I went to United at first,

  • my job was to build the foundation at that football club.

  • Because I think most managers,

  • quite rightly, have to think about a football team, the first team because

  • as a result industry they are to make sure the first team does well.

  • I never thought that way.

  • I thought that rebuilding the youth in the club so they would give me a foundation

  • and I'd given them with the young players coming through.

  • My conviction was never going to change.

  • I told the directors on day one, that's exactly what I was going to do.

  • And of course, yeah,

  • I was concerned that the first team [INAUDIBLE] second bout of the week.

  • And I just took my time with that, I wasn't in a hurry, most concentration

  • was on scouting, trialing, and coaching for the young people.

  • >> Mm hm.

  • Now at the end of the Everton game,

  • United are in third position in English Premier League.

  • It's the end of October and

  • obviously everybody here is connected to the business school in one way or another.

  • And an important thing in business is setting expectations.

  • And how would you, were you managing United today,

  • knowing that there's a long part of the season still to come?

  • You still gotta play Christmas,

  • you gotta get, you're in the other different cups and championships.

  • How do you go about setting the expectation of where you would want

  • the club to wind up the end of the season knowing your in third position today.

  • >> Well I think the definition, you take my job Aberdeen.

  • Aberdeen's an awful Scotland.

  • Cut off from the central bell with a mean stream of footballers.

  • I had to build an expectation, to create an expectation for the players.

  • Whereas in United you have to live with the expectations for

  • every player that comes through that club.

  • Even after Saturday's game,

  • every player on that team has to weather the expectation.

  • So, the expectation is to win.

  • Absolute, whether it's a European cup or a cup.

  • They all have to win.

  • That's the mentality they have.

  • The mindset is the winning mindset.

  • There's no question about that.

  • So, I never said to the press, we've got to win the European cup, we've got to the.

  • I've never said that.

  • Every time at press conference, well, I hope we win something.

  • I wouldn't want to get carried away and give them a headline.

  • But, deep down, win every game.

  • That was the mentality.

  • I never expected to lose a game, ever.

  • >> Mm-hm.

  • Would you be talking to the players at this juncture about the possibility of

  • winning the league this year?

  • >> No.

  • >> And when would you start privately calculating whether or not you thought.

  • >> You won't believe this if I tell you.

  • Every begin of January.

  • I used to get all opponents games and

  • predict the point that we want to get against us.

  • And I was never far wrong.

  • Never far wrong.

  • Even to the point that,

  • I knew we'd maybe have to make three points up on one of our main opponents.

  • I was pretty accurate in that.

  • And I did this every year.

  • And so that, add my win.

  • Sort of a challenge.

  • >> Would you sit down with each of the top clubs or the whole league?

  • >> Just the top clubs, only the four ones.

  • I will know by January 1st who our main challenges are going to be.

  • And then I used to do that, I kept to myself, I didn't share it with anyone.

  • I was never far wrong, That's good.

  • >> I knew even the years we lost it.

  • I knew that dangers we had in terms of challenges.

  • >> You're pretty accurate about, say in January, about the number of points

  • that United itself would have at the end of the season.

  • >> Yeah. >> Let me change the topic a little bit,

  • to two things that again are germane to every sort of business.

  • One is assessing and judging talents and another is discipline.

  • So, let me take you back.

  • It's 1957.

  • There is a young man growing sideburns.

  • >> [LAUGH] >> Alex Ferguson who's

  • turning out in his first seasons for

  • a club in Scotland in Glasgow called Queen's Park.

  • How would you assess the talent of that player?

  • >> [LAUGH]

  • >> Well, outstanding comes to mind.

  • >> [LAUGH] >> But, well, I probably

  • was one of the few players that played for Glasgow Skills, Scotland Skills,

  • Scotland Youth, Scottish Amateur, and the full Scottish team.

  • But I wasn't an outstanding player, I was a goal scorer.

  • In fact, at United we used to get into the video analysis room most mornings.

  • And this morning our Goalkeeping coach Eric Steele says,

  • I was just pulling up your goalscoring record.

  • He said that's pretty good, that.

  • 179 goals in 300 games or something like that.

  • And I said, that's only league goals, I said where are my cup goals?

  • So, I said, well, I'll try and get them out.

  • We couldn't get them.

  • We couldn't find any cup goals.

  • I don't know why, but No, I was a goal scorer,

  • and had a great career without actually winning anything.

  • I went to Rangers about the time when Celtic were completely dominant.

  • They'd just won the European Cup under Jock Stein, and

  • they were the fantastic team.

  • The were a devil to beat at that time.

  • But I enjoyed it, I had a good career.

  • The thing about playing is that that is the best time of your life,

  • which relates to how I would never ask any of my players to retire to become a coach.

  • I encouraged them to take their badges.

  • When I went to fulltime at football, because I was an engineer.

  • I was a tool maker until I was 22, was part-time at football.

  • I made my mind up.

  • I was not going back to Engineering.

  • So I took all my coaching badges, I prepared to stay in the game.

  • Like everyone should do, if you want to do something, prepare.

  • Whether it's through study, or like I did, take your coaching badges,

  • I think that's an important issue.

  • >> And how well behaved on the field was that young player Alex Ferguson?

  • >> You're getting this from my son Jason.

  • Had a bad record.

  • >> Pardon?

  • >> Had a bad record.

  • >> [LAUGH] >> I was sent off eight times

  • >> Pardon?

  • >> I know, I know.

  • But I was misunderstood.

  • [LAUGH] [APPLAUSE] >> Do you remember some

  • of the incidents about why you were sent off?

  • >> Every one of them.

  • Yeah.

  • Retaliation was mostly.

  • Or maybe a late tackle or

  • something, or an elbow in someone's jaw or something like that.

  • >> [LAUGH] >> I had a funny running style.

  • I run with my elbows like this.

  • So, I was always getting into trouble.

  • [LAUGH] Matt's laughing here.

  • I was always getting into trouble because of my elbows, yeah.

  • >> The elbows.

  • >> Yeah. >> Yeah.

  • So let's talk about judging other talent several decades later.

  • I'm going to pick two players, David Beckham and

  • another one we'll come to in a moment.

  • So, how did you first come across Beckham and how old was he?

  • And what did he seem like as a player when you first saw him?

  • >> Well, David came to know us through a scout in London,

  • from the same area as David.

  • He was a headmaster at school, Malcolm Fidgen.

  • And he put David on the radar, but the real impact came from Bobby Charlton.

  • Bobby had soccer schools at the time, and David had won a placement for

  • Bobby's soccer school in Barcelona.

  • And Bobby came back and said I've seen a kid, you need.

  • So I flagged it up with the chief scout.

  • He said, of course, he's coming next month.

  • Just by coincidence.

  • And that was a start, he would be eleven years of age at the time.

  • He was a little thin boy, he had no height, no physique whatsoever.

  • But he had this wonderful talent, in terms of control of the ball,

  • striking the ball was really his forte.

  • And, his parents were United fans.

  • His grandfather was a Tottenham fan, but he and his parents were United fans.

  • So he used to come to the game.

  • After we got the contact with him,

  • we invited him to the games every time we were in London.

  • And, in fact,

  • he was a a ball boy in the West Ham game which is this area of London.

  • And he was a certainty to come to United.

  • He trained at Tottenham for a while.

  • I think he trained somewhere else, maybe Fulham or something like that.

  • But he was always destined to come to United because he

  • wanted to come to United.

  • And, in that class of 92, who were the team to win the Youth Cup, David never

  • got on the team until the semi-finals because he was just a little boy.

  • Then, within months, [SOUND] six foot, still thin,

  • no confirmation in his body whatsoever.

  • >> [LAUGH] >> No, he was a skinny boy.

  • >> [LAUGH] >> And then,