Viv Anderson.

Anderson: How Sir Alex and Cloughie compared

Sunday 28 June 2020 22:30

In the latest edition of UTD Podcast, Viv Anderson provides a unique insight into being managed by two greats of the English game in Brian Clough and Sir Alex Ferguson, and reveals how another legendary member of staff motivated him to sign for the Reds.

A member of the Nottingham Forest side that conquered Europe in 1979 and 1980, Anderson made the move from Arsenal to United in the summer of 1987 and was unveiled alongside Brian McClair as one of Sir Alex's first signings at Old Trafford. Viv spent three-and-a-half-years with the club, making 69 appearances in all competitions, before joining Sheffield Wednesday in 1991.

Speaking to Helen Evans, Sam Homewood and former United player David May in a revealing episode of UTD Podcast, Anderson explained the sway that Sir Alex had when he signed for the club.

"[He] was the reason I went. I had a chance to stay at Arsenal, I had a contract. But he convinced me when I went up to see him that he was driven and he wanted to make United great again so I wanted to be part of that.

Watch as Viv Anderson reveals what it was like to be the first black football player to represent England.

“So the driving force behind it was always him… and Kathy [Phipps] at the reception desk as you come in! Kathy made you so welcome it was unbelievable.

“It was like she was my mum, my second mum. She's unbelievable [and is the same towards me] even now when I go back.

“Kathy was fantastic and convinced me, as well as Sir Alex, that it was the right move. What a lovely lady. As you walked in the door, she made you feel so welcome."


Of course, Anderson is also well-known in football for his part in the Nottingham Forest squad that lifted the European Cup in 1979 and 1980, under the stewardship of Brian Clough. A mainstay at the City Ground for 18 years, Clough had the same attributes as Sir Alex, according to Viv.

“They are very similar in many, many ways. Very strict. You do what they say. You play the same way, they want to play football, the attractive way.

“Cloughie would say, ‘if football was meant to be played up there in the sky, they would have put grass up there’. You play it on the floor, pass and move.

“They are very, very similar. Everyone was very respectful of them and they were both great managers.”

Anderson in action at Old Trafford in 1987/88.

Another topic discussed during the podcast is whether United legend George Best would be able to shine as brightly in the modern era of the game.

“Would George be able to play now? Absolutely, 100 per cent he would,” insisted Viv.

“And you say, ‘why?’ Because he’d train better, there are better facilities, the pitches are better, the balls are better, the boots are better, he’d just adapt like everyone else.”

The new episode of UTD Podcast, featuring Viv Anderson, will be available on Deezer and other podcast providers from Monday 29 June. To find previous editions, plus video clips, head to

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