Sir Alex shared secret with Strachan

Monday 30 January 2023 16:16

Gordon Strachan has shared many great stories during his UTD Podcast with regular hosts Helen Evans, Sam Homewood and David May.

The former Reds midfielder played under Sir Alex Ferguson for Aberdeen and Scotland before they were reunited at Old Trafford in November 1986, much to the winger's shock.

However, the legendary manager had offered a clue to where his future may lie in the previous summer, while the pair were in Mexico competing at the World Cup finals. The tragic, sudden death of Jock Stein had resulted in Sir Alex, his part-time assistant, agreeing to take over the national team for the tournament.

After unprecedented success at home and abroad with Aberdeen, Ferguson admitted only the lure of Manchester United or Barcelona could tempt him away from Pittodrie.

Gordon Strachan discusses Sir Alex's move south to Old Trafford.

"It started at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico," said Strachan. "It was an horrendous World Cup. We had a horrible hotel that we stayed in. The people were nice but there was nothing to watch, nothing on telly. It was all Spanish. I got a three-minute phone-call a week to phone my wife. That's all you got.

"Next door to me was Sir Alex. I hear him [snoring noises], all that kind of stuff, and can't get to sleep. He's the manager and is trying to pick the team so he comes into my room in the morning and he says I've got a problem. Anyway, I said to him: 'When are you going to leave Aberdeen?' And he went: 'I'm not leaving Aberdeen unless I get offered the Barcelona job or the Manchester United job. I said I hope it's Barca then and he went [grunts, pulls a face]! 

"Only now, looking back at it, [United chairman] Martin Edwards was always asking me about Sir Alex," added Strachan in our latest episode. "He was quizzing me about your man. And he was still ringing me at that time, Sir Alex. Again, I didn't know he was quizzing me. 'What are the boys like?' A wee bit different. 'Do the guys like a drink?' Oh yeah, wonderful. They like a drink.

"I didn't know at this time that he was taking all this information down. Sorry lads! I didn't know at the time. Then he came in and it [the culture] didn't just change, no. It took a while to change, trust me. It took a while for him to get the players he really needed in the team, to carry out exactly what he wanted.

"Not that the guys were being disrespectful, far from it. The other guys were just their own people. It was hard for them to change and they weren't going to change their lifestyle, that's for sure. Again, it's not a negative thing, that they said they were against it, far from it. They were open minded, come in and try the new ideas but they were not going to change their social life.

"It took four or five years to get it done. He needed to get rid of me, Paul McGrath, all these kind of guys. They needed to go and that's not a problem."

Watch Gordon Strachan's UTD Podcast Video

Watch Gordon Strachan's UTD Podcast

If you like to watch UTD Podcast rather than listen, here's your chance to devour Gordon Strachan's amazing episode...

Strachan had left Aberdeen for United when Ron Atkinson signed him in 1984. The talented wide midfielder had not always enjoyed a harmonious relationship with Ferguson, despite being a key part of their success.

He stayed at Old Trafford until 1989 and then enjoyed a great spell with rivals Leeds United, helping them win the Second Division before pipping the Reds to the title in the last year of the old First Division in 1991/92, before the Premier League started.

You can listen to Gordon Strachan's full UTD Podcast episode now in the United App.