Sir Alex Ferguson.

Anderson: What Sir Alex and Clough had in common

Viv Anderson had an incredible career as a player, representing the likes of Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Our former defender was also Sir Alex Ferguson’s maiden United signing, and a pioneer when he became the first black player to represent England during his Forest days.

Throughout his career, Viv also worked with some incredible managers, including Sir Alex Ferguson and the late Brian Clough. “I had Sir Bobby [Robson] as England manger as well,” Anderson reminded Stewart Gardner during the latest MUTV Group Chat. “So I’ve had a fair few in my time.

Hear from Sir Alex’s first signingVideo

“All three of them were very good in what they did,” he added. “I had the ultimate respect for them and they played football in the right way. I’ve been very lucky to play under three great managers.”

Not many footballers have been fortunate enough to work under two European Cup/Champions League-winning coaches, but Anderson appreciates the status of two of the game's titans.

Having played for Ferguson and Clough, Viv knows a thing or two about what makes a top coach, and he revealed the duo both shared one similar trait: exceptional man-management.

“It was a bit like Sir Alex,”
Anderson said, when reflecting on Clough’s ability to motivate his players.
“When Sir Alex took training, you were thinking ‘no, boss’ and Cloughy was exactly the same.

“They earned their money on Saturdays or Wednesdays, or whenever you played. It was man-management and they knew how to get the best out of people, and they were very successful at what they did.”


Anderson was famously part of Clough’s Forest side who won the First Division in 1978 and the European Cup in both of the following two seasons, although the 63-year-old revealed his relationship with Clough didn’t start off on the best of footings.
Viv Anderson.
Viv Anderson was Sir Alex's first signing as United boss in 1987.
“We played Tottenham in the FA Cup,”
he said.
“I came off with cramp 10 minutes before the end and, after the game, Brian Clough came into the dressing room and said: ‘I’m the new Nottingham Forest manager’.

“Then the replay was on the Wednesday and he put up a list of 23 players to travel down to London and I wasn’t on it. I was thinking ‘that’s me out the door’.

“But he was great for me and we had some really great players at the time. Some of the stories I could tell you would make your hair curl!”


We'll have a new episode of MUTV Group Chat at 16:00 BST, every day from Monday to Friday. You can watch them all on our United at Home page.

Recommended: