Many things spring to mind when you think of Sir Alex Ferguson.
His touchline antics will never be forgotten, and neither will his fiery temper – just ask David Beckham what happens when Fergie is within kicking distance of a stray boot.
And it was that temper that has produced one of the best stories about the 13-time Premier League winner, as his Manchester United side returned from an away game against Galatasaray in 1993.
Steve Bruce recalled the time when Fergie kicked off with Turkish police after a Champions League game, and it’s fantastic.
Bruce told the Daily Mail:
We drew 0-0 and went out on away goals
Eric Cantona got sent off after the whistle and it was dark and dingy in there.
Hundreds of coppers with big rottweilers barking at you, straining on the leash. One started giving Eric some gyp, so Eric decided to give it back.
Now we’re all getting battered. Bryan Robson, captain of England, he’s in there. Typical Bryan, he’s swung this punch and there’s a hook on the wall.
Nowhere near the fella he’s trying to hit, but he’s caught his elbow on it, ripped his arm completely open. Blood everywhere. He’s screaming, and a big Turk comes in and boots him.Advertisement
So now we’re tearing into them, trying to fight our way out of there, and over my shoulder I see Fergie come flying back down the stairs. He’s taking his jacket off as he comes.
And, like any true Scot, he wasn’t coming in to diffuse the situation:
He’s over 50 years old, but he’s straight in, wades in. We eventually get back to the dressing room.Advertisement
Fergie comes barging through. His hair’s all over the place, his tie is under his ear and he says, “None of you have been fighting have you? No team of mine has been fighting, eh?”
And we’re all, “No, boss”. So he says, “Didn’t think so”, and goes out and tells the world that his players have been assaulted in the tunnel.
And I remember the door closed behind him that night, and we all looked at each other and said: “He’ll do”. He created that spirit.
That’s why his teams were never beaten. It’s no fluke that United always scored in the last minute. It wasn’t coaching. It was belief. He instilled belief that his teams have to win.
He created a sense of invincibility. He was a genius.
So that settles it, next time you’re in a room with Ferguson and Bryan Robson, there’s only one man you start a fight with.