“I was invisible during the week”…the hidden leadership of Ferguson’s ‘hair dryer rant’

What kind of leadership did Sir Alex Ferguson exhibit during his 27-year reign at the helm of Manchester United?

Gary Neville, who served as United captain for five years and is widely regarded as Ferguson’s handmaiden, recalls how Ferguson handled his team.

He was joined by a number of former and current players who have left their mark on English soccer to discuss the manager’s role and handling on the soccer podcast Stick to Football on Monday. The podcast features Neville’s former United teammate Roy Keane, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, and Arsenal’s acclaimed former striker Ian Wright.

“Ferguson has done some unbelievable things in his 20-plus years in charge of United,” Neville began, before adding: “He didn’t show up at the training ground during the week. The players could barely hear him (on non-match days),” he said, adding that “Ferguson didn’t talk down to the players, saying ‘do this’ or ‘do that’. When he spoke to them, he would say, ‘Hey, kid,'” he said.

This is at odds with Ferguson’s powerful charisma and fiery instructions to his players, often referred to as ‘the hairdryer’.

Neville’s recollections are all the more surprising given Ferguson’s ruthlessness in dealing with anyone who challenged him, declaring that no player was above the team and the manager.

But Ferguson was a very clever manager. His actions were calculated to keep his players mentally in line and to bolster his own charisma. “Ferguson quietly changed his head coach every three to four years,” says Neville. This was to prevent the players from hearing the same voice over and over again.”

In other words, Ferguson’s lack of intervention with his players on the training ground and on non-match days was to prevent them from hearing the same voice all week. Understanding this dynamic, Ferguson was trying to kill two birds with one stone by not only making sure that his players didn’t have to listen to him on a daily basis, but also reinforcing the bad blood on the field.

This also explains why Ferguson rotated his head coaches regularly to keep his players mentally fresh. “Some coaches are very aggressive in giving feedback on the training field and yell on the pitch,” says Neville, who sighs heavily at the thought.

Carragher was surprised. The foreign managers who managed Liverpool during his time, such as Gerard Houllier and Rafael Benitez, had a very different style of leadership to Ferguson. “The foreign managers were not managers of the squad, they were managers of the players,” he said, referring to Ullier and Benitez, who hailed from France and Spain, respectively, adding, “I would feel very strange if I walked into the training ground and didn’t see the manager.”

Jürgen Klopp, the current manager of Liverpool, is another active manager who is always present on the training field. This is something that is often seen with foreign managers. “The hierarchy at the club will want to see the manager leading the players,” Keane 카지노사이트 said, arguing that foreign managers are often encouraged by the club’s hierarchy to teach the players on the training ground.

This is because no matter how successful a manager has been overseas, it is unclear how they will fare in the English Premier League if they are new to the game. Ullier, Benitez, and Klopp were all untested in the Premier League before taking over at Liverpool.

Neville, meanwhile, said Ferguson’s actions on matchdays were also calculated. “Keane was the captain of United, so he would know. On match days, Ferguson would stand in front of the players’ locker room and stare down the corridor that led to the referee’s office and the opposition locker room,” he says, adding that Ferguson put pressure on opponents and referees.

“After every game, Ferguson would stand in front of the locker room and shake hands with every player on the team, and at the same time he would stare down the hallway, putting pressure on the officials and the opposition,” he said.

Carragher echoed this, saying, “I once played against United at Anfield (Liverpool’s home stadium) and the tunnel (where the players enter) is very narrow,” adding, “I remember feeling a very huge presence standing beyond it.”

Ferguson is one of the greatest managers of all time, having led United to 13 Premier League titles in his 26 seasons at the helm. He moved away from the primitive notion of managing as a tactician and managing training to become a locker room boss who had complete control over his squad and was deeply involved in the club’s transfer policy.

Considered one of the greatest managers of all time, Ferguson’s legacy continues to grow with each passing day as more of his stories are revealed.


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