"Alex produced results as all really great managers do, by putting players in the position where they didn't want to embarrass themselves in the manager's eyes."

09/05/2013 12:12, Report by Alan Beck
1 of 2 Next 

McIlvanney pays tribute

Sunday Times writer Hugh McIlvanney, who co-wrote 'Managing My Life' with Sir Alex in 1999, has paid his own personal tribute to the manager.

The esteemed journalist admits to being upset at hearing the news that the boss' glorious reign is coming to an end but feels it is probably the right time to call it a day.

"I was quite moved when I heard that Alex was stopping this extraordinary career," he stated. "But I've a feeling that it's probably a good decision. I know his previous attempt at retirement didn't make much sense and he came back to prove just how premature it was. But I've not doubt this decision has been made in the right context of what's happening in his private life and at the club and that he just knows it's the right time.

"Whenever I think of Alex's career, invariably I find myself reflecting that the real wonder is not so much the heights he reached – although those were utterly remarkable – but the sustaining of the trajectory. Everybody knows that getting to the top is remarkable enough but staying there for as long as he has is a minor miracle. 

"People are inclined to misjudge his talents. They talk about his use of the hairdryer as a way of producing performances by frightening players, but that was clearly a tiny part of what Alex was able to do. He couldn't work with these multi-millionaire players and hope that the methods that succeeded 20 or 30 years ago would be effective today. 

"Alex produced results, as all really great managers do, by putting players in the position where they didn't want to embarrass themselves in the manager's eyes. They didn't want to let themselves down in the estimation of Alex Ferguson and that meant a lot more than any verbal attacks. 

"He learned a great deal from Jock Stein and, of course, Matt Busby and he applied those lessons in a way that would have delighted both of those men. We used to talk about the great triumvirate of Busby, Bill Shankly and Stein and he now joins the ranks of the really great Scottish managers." 

1 of 2 Next 
Enjoy exclusive videos, features and enter a prize draw to win a signed Sir Alex photo
Sign up below to view the content for free

Please enter a valid email address.

Please enter a valid date of birth

Please select a County from the dropdown list.

ContinuePlease read our privacy consent below.

Privacy Consent

By submitting this form you expressly consent that the Manchester United (“MU”) Group (being all companies with the MU name) and the other MU Commercial Partners (as both may change over time) may share & use your personal information (a) to provide products & services you request, (b) for consumer profiling, market research & (c) unless you tick the boxes below to contact you by post, phone or electronically (incl. email, text & DigitalTV) about MU related products, services, offers & events.

Don’t send me details of products, services, offers & events from:

Please click here to read the MU Privacy Policy and for an updated list of MU Group companies & MU Commercial Partners.

Thank you for registering
your details on the site
Good luck in the prize draw