Sir Alex Ferguson is free to speak his mind — now that he has retired from the business of managing Manchester United.
Most soccer fans are used to hearing from Ferguson before or after United games. In those pressure-packed environments, the former United boss was calculating in his choice of words and the tone in which he delivered them.
On Tuesday, Ferguson appeared on US television network PBS’ Charlie Rose and gave a wide-ranging interview. For nearly an hour, he talked about his life, the 26-plus years he led the Red Devils and the secrets to his success at Old Trafford.
Ferguson says trust and loyalty were foundations of the team ethic he helped instill at United. It reiterated many of the themes included in the “Ferguson Formula” — a much-publicized Harvard Business School case study on his United tenure.
However, soccer fans (and non-management theory junkies) will find other parts of Ferguson’s appearance on Charlie Rose fascinating. He talked about his relationship with United stars past and present, including Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham. He says Beckham lost focus on soccer after marrying Posh Spice, which was a driving force behind United’s decision to sell the midfielder to Real Madrid in 2003.
While Ferguson dropped his guard for much of the interview, it seemed like his filter returned when Rose brought up Wayne Rooney, David Moyes and United’s prospects for the 2013-14 season. He says Rooney had a bad period last season and takes credit for the Untied star’s return to form this season. Ferguson also continued to back Moyes (his hand-picked successor), despite United’s troubles in the early part of the new era. He added that there was no chance that he would return to management at United or any other club.
Viewers also learned that one of Ferguson’s hobbies is studying the American Civil War. There are some things fans can’t learn by reading the tabloids. That’s just one of them.
See Ferguson’s full interview with Rose in the video below.
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