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Alex Ferguson

Alex Ferguson
Complete Name: Alexander Ferguson
Nickname: Sir Alex Ferguson
Nationality: Scottish
Place of Birth: Govan, Scotland
Date of Birth: 31/12/1941
Current Club: Retired


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Club career history


Alex Ferguson Honours

F.A Premier League Championship (8 times): 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003

F.A Cup (5 times): 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004

League Cup (1 time): 1992

European Champions Cup (1 time): 1999

European Cup Winners Cup (1 time): 1991

F.A Charity Shield (6 times): 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003

Intercontinental Cup (1 time): 1999

Total trophies won: 23



Sir Alex Ferguson (born Alexander Chapman Ferguson December 31, 1941 in Govan, Glasgow) is a Scottish football manager, currently managing Manchester United F.C.. He has won more trophies than any other manager in the history of English football and been in charge of Manchester United for over 1000 matches.

He has previously managed East Stirling and St. Mirren, before a highly successful period as manager of Aberdeen. He was briefly the manager of Scotland, in a temporary capacity, owing to the death of Jock Stein, before becoming the manager of Manchester United F.C..

He is also the owner of a top international race horse, Rock of Gibraltar.

Pre 1986

Sir Alex Ferguson's first big success in management came with Aberdeen. They won the Scottish Premier Division championship in 1980, then followed this up with back to back titles in 1984 and 1985. They racked up three Scottish cup successes in a row; 1982, 1983 and '84. Their greatest success came when they beat Real Madrid to lift the European Cup Winners Cup in 1983.


He was appointed manager at Old Trafford on November 6, 1986 as replacement for Ron Atkinson who had been sacked after five years in charge despite winning two F.A. Cups and putting together an impressive side containing players like Bryan Robson, Norman Whiteside and Gordon Strachan.

When Ferguson took over, the club was second from bottom in the old First Division and relegation looked a real possibility. As the season went on, Ferguson rejuvenated the club's fortunes on the pitch and they climbed up the table to finish 11th. Their only away win of the league campaign was against runners-up Liverpool and that victory effectively cost the opposition their defence of the league title.


The 1987–88 season saw some major signings at Old Trafford, including Steve Bruce, Viv Anderson, Brian McClair and Jim Leighton. Alex Ferguson did a lot to bolster the club's position and they finished runners-up to Liverpool by nine points. But United's best chance of success was in the FA Cup where they blew it in the 5th Round, missing the chance to convert a last minute penalty into an equaliser against Arsenal.


Alex Ferguson sought to add to the ranks for 1988–89 by re-signing Mark Hughes, the 24-year-old Welsh striker who had left Old Trafford for Barcelona two years previously, but the player had never settled in Spain and had spent the 1987–88 season on loan to Bayern Munich in West Germany. During the season he also added Mal Donaghy and Mike Phelan to the team, but their league form slipped during the final phase of the season and they finished 11th.


The 1989–90 season began on a high for United and it ended on a high. It was just a shame about what happened around the middle of the season.

On the opening day of the season United beat defending champions Arsenal 4-1 and there was hope that the league title would return to Old Trafford having being absent since 1967. The squad had also been boosted by the addition of Paul Ince, Neil Webb, Danny Wallace and Gary Pallister. But in September, United suffered a humiliating 5-1 away defeat against neighbours Manchester City who had just been promoted back to the top division after a two year absence. Over the next three months things went downhill, and by the turn of 1990, Manchester United were 15th of 20 in the First Division and there were calls from the press and from the club's supporters for Ferguson to be sacked. But Ferguson later revealed that the club's board of directors had never discussed the possibility. Although naturally disappointing at the lack of success in the league, the board understood that Ferguson's chances of success had been sabotaged by an injury crisis amongst the players and they were pleased with the way he had reorganised the club.

In January 1990, Manchester United were drawn away to Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup. Forest were one of the most feared cup teams in that era, and everyone was predicting for United to lose the game and for Ferguson to lose his job. But United won the game 1-0, with Mark Robins scoring the goal, and made it all the way to the final despite never being drawn at home.

In the final United drew 3-3 with Crystal Palace, with Mark Hughes scoring twice and Bryan Robson scoring once. United won the replay 1-0 with a goal from defender Lee Martin, who nearly didn't play because the manager feared that he was physically unfit to withstand the challenge, and United would be England's representatives in the 1990–91 European Cup Winners Cup - the ban on English teams playing in Europe following the Heysel Stadium disaster was now lifted after five years.

United finished 13th in the 1989–90 league season but everyone was confident they could finish much higher in 1990–91.


1990–91 brought more success for Manchester United. Their league form was improved but still inconsistent, so they finished sixth, but they fared much better in cup competitions. Although they lost their defence of the FA Cup to Norwich in the fifth round, they reached the finals of both the Cup Winners Cup and the League Cup. In the League Cup final they underestimated the opposition, Second Division promotion challengers Sheffield Wednesday, and lost 1-0 to a team managed by former United manager Ron Atkinson. The goalscorer on that day was John Sheridan, a lifelong Manchester United supporter.

United were drawn with Barcelona in the Cup Winners Cup final at Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Mark Hughes, who had spent a season at Barcelona in the 1980's but failed to settle, scored twice against his old club to secure a 2-1 win for United. It was a fine way to mark the return of English clubs to European football, and confirmed Mark Hughes' status as one of Manchester United's greatest strikers ever.


In 1991–92, Manchester United won their first ever League Cup but lost out on the league title to Leeds United. The key player in the Leeds team was Gordon Strachan, who had been sold to Leeds from Manchester United three years earlier and taken them to the league title just two seasons after winning promotion.


1992–93 saw Manchester United become members of the new Premier League and from the outset they were firm favourites to be champions. But after a slow start to the season (they were 10th of 22 at the beginning of November) it looked as though they would miss out on the championship again. But then Alex Ferugson paid Leeds United £1.2 million for their brilliant French striker Eric Cantona and the deal proved to be a turning point in the history of Manchester United. Cantona formed a strong partnership with Mark Hughes and fired the club to the top of the table, ending up winning the title with a 10-point gap over runners-up Aston Villa. The 26-year wait was over, and it officially ended without United kicking a ball - their nearest rivals Aston Villa had suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Oldham Athletic which did much to keep the Latics safe from relegation.


1993–94 brought more success for Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. He added Nottingham Forest's 22-year-old midfielder Roy Keane to the ranks for a British record fee of £3.75million as a long term replacement for Bryan Robson, although the Old Trafford legend remained in the squad for one more season.

United led the 1993–94 Premiership table virtually from start to finish and this time they finished champions ahead of runners-up Blackburn. Eric Cantona was top scorer with 25 goals in all competitions despite being sent off twice in the space of five days in March 1994. United also reached the League Cup final but lost 3-1 to Ron Atkinson's Aston Villa. In the F.A Cup final Manchester United achieved an impressive 4-0 scoreline against Chelsea and the result confirmed Alex Ferguson's place as one of the greatest managers in the English game. United had become only the sixth club ever to win the League Championship/F.A Cup double.


1994–95 was perhaps Alex Ferguson's most difficult season as Manchester United manager. Key players like Paul Parker, Lee Sharpe and Andrei Kanchelskis were absent in many matches because of injury, and Eric Cantona was absent for the final four months of the season as he began an eight-month ban for assaulting a Crystal Palace supporter in a game at Selhurst Park. Cantona received a 14-day prison sentence for the offence but the sentence was quashed on appeal and replaced by a 120-hour community service order. On the brighter side, United hit the headlines two weeks before the Cantona incident when they paid a British record fee of £7million for Newcastle's prolific striker Andy Cole, who began his Old Trafford career with 12 goals in 18 league games.

Unfortunately, the championship slipped out of Manchester United's grasp as they were unable to get the better of West Ham United who held them to a 1-1 draw on the final day of the season. It was all the more frustrating because champions Blackburn (celebrating their first title success since 1914) lost 2-1 in their final game of the season at Liverpool. United also lost the F.A Cup final to Everton, although promising 20-year-old striker Paul Scholes came close to scoring twice only to be foiled by the brilliant Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall.

Still, United had finished in the top two of the league for the fourth season running and had reached their third F.A Cup final in six seasons, even if they had endured their first trophyless season since 1988–89.


The summer of 1995 brought three major transfer surprises at Alex Ferguson's club. First Paul Ince moved to Inter Milan of Italy in a £7.5 million. Within 24 hours of Ince's departure, long serving striker Mark Hughes was suddenly sold to Chelsea in a £1.5 million deal. And not long after these two transfer surprises, it was reported that Ukrainian winger Andrei Kanchelskis was going on the transfer list because he had fallen out with Alex Ferguson. Liverpool and Middlesbrough both expressed interest in signing Kanchelskis, but in the end he agreed a £5million move to Everton, although he did not complete the transfer until after the first game of the 1995–96 season because of a dispute as to whether his former club Shakytr Donetsk should receive £1million of the fee. In the wake of these departures, United were linked with several world class players including Roberto Baggio of Juventus and Italy, Darren Anderton of Tottenham and England and even the Wimbledon striker Dean Holdsworth. But none of the moves ever happened, and United began the 1995-96 season without a major signing, only a minor signing of David May from Blackburn Rovers. After losing 3-1 to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, the media swooped upon Ferguson with undisguised glee. They wrote United off because Alex Ferguson's squad contained so many young and inexperienced players.

Ferguson felt he could achieve success with such a young squad, and United's form improved dramatically during the first few weeks of the season. Young players like Gary Neville, Phil Neville, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes gelled well into a squad with more experienced players like Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister and Denis Irwin. The return of Eric Cantona from his suspension was also a positive change to the United side. They ended the season as champions with just six league defeats all season, an achievement made all the more impressive by the fact that they had been 10 points behind Newcastle at Christmas. In the F.A Cup final, they were drawn with Liverpool and won 1-0 with a last gasp goal by Eric Cantona - voted Football Writers Player of the Year by the footballing press and made team captain by his club after the departure of Steve Bruce to Birmingham City.


The summer of 1996 saw the departure of Steve Bruce, Paul Parker and Lee Sharpe, and the arrival of four major signings. Czech winger Karel Poborsky had put on an impressive performance at Euro 96, but failed to win a place at Old Trafford and was sold to Benfica after 18 months. Dutch forward Jordi Cruyff (son of the legendary Johann) was also signed, but was never a regular player during four seasons as the club. It was the two less well known signings which proved most successful.

23-year-old Norweigan striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær was virtually unknown outside his homeland, yet ended the 1996–97 season as United's leading scorer with 19 goals in all competitions. Norweigan defender Ronny Johnsen also proved to be a key player in the team as well.

1996–97 saw Alex Ferguson guide Manchester United to their fourth Premiership title in five seasons, despite some trials and tribulations along the way. In late October, they suffered three league defeats in a row and conceded 13 goals in the process. In January they were knocked out of the F.A Cup by Wimbledon in the Fourth Round, meaning they would not be in the final for the first time since 1993. They also lost their 4-year unbeaten home record to unfancied Turkish side Fenerbahce. But they still reached the Champions League semi final, where they lost to Borussia Dortmund of Germany, and fought off competition from Newcastle United, Arsenal and Liverpool to win the league title. At the end of the season, Eric Cantona announced his retirement as a player and sent shock waves around the footballing world.


1997–98 ended trophyless but United still finished runners-up to Arsenal (who had trailed them by 11 points at the beginning of March but had taken advantage of games in hand) and reached the Champions League quarter final.

In the summer of 1998, Alex Ferguson spent a total of £33 million on four major signings: Aston Villa's Trinidadian striker Dwight Yorke, PSV's Dutch defender Jaap Stam,Parma's Swedish winger Jesper Blomqvist and Blackburn's Henning Berg.. Long serving players Gary Pallister and Brian McClair both left the club to seek pastures new for the final few years of their careers.


The new signings paid off in 1998–99, which proved to be the most successful season yet in the history of Manchester United. They fought off the competition from rival teams to win a unique treble of the Premiership title, F.A Cup and Champions League. They defeated Newcastle United 2-0 in the F.A Cup Final at Wembley thanks to goals from Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes.The European triumph was the most incredible of all. With 90 minutes on the clock they were 1-0 down to Bayern Munich at Nou Camp in Barcelona thanks to a Mario Basler free kick, but in 3 minutes of injury time allowed by the referee, Teddy Sheringham equalised and extra time looked certain. But with just seconds left on the clock, Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored the winning goal and history was made.

On 12th June 1999, Alex Ferguson was knighted in recognition for his services to the game. He was now regarded by many as the best manager ever to work in English football.


During the summer of 1999, Peter Schmeichel left Manchester United after eight years as the club's first choice goalkeeper. During that time he gained the reputation of being one of the best goalkeepers in the world. His replacement, Aston Villa's Australian goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, was less highly rated but Sir Alex Ferguson seemed to think that he was the right man to succeed Schmeichel.

Bosnich was the only major close season signing, but within the first few weeks of the season three more new players were signed - South African winger Quinton Fortune, Italian goalkeeper Massimo Taibi and French defender Mikael Silvestre. Taibi played just five games before being injured and eventually returning to his native Italy on loan with Reggiana before his transfer was made permanent at the end of the season. Fortune is still at the club more than five years later, but has been unable to win a regular first team place due to the form of left winger Ryan Giggs. Silvestre gradually established himself as a top class player on the left side or the centre of defence.

Manchester United ended the 1999-2000 season as champions with just three Premier defeats, and with Arsenal in second place. Last season the gap at the top had been just 1 point. This time the gap was 18 points.

In April 2000, it was announced that Manchester United had agreed to sign Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy from PSV Eindhoven for a British record fee of £18million. But the move was put on hold when van Nistelrooy failed a medical, and he then returned to his homeland in a bid to regain fitness, only to suffer a serious knee injury which ruled him out for almost a year.


The major change to the Manchester United side for the 2000-01 season was the acquisition of 29-year-old French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez from Monaco for £7.8million - making him the most expensive goalkeeper to be signed by a British club.

Another change to the line-up was Teddy Sheringham winning his first team place back after two seasons of often being included as only a substitute. By the end of the season, the 35-year-old Sheringham was Manchester United's leading scorer in all competitions and had been presented with both the PFA Player of the Year Award and the Football Writers Player of the Year Award. Sheringham was reported to be considering a new contract at the end of the season but instead opted to return to his old club Tottenham Hotspur on a free transfer. This decision was mainly down to the British record £19 million signing of Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, one year after the player's original move collapsed due to a knee injury.

During the 2001 close season, Manchester United again broke the British transfer record - this time paying Lazio £28.1million for Argentine attacking midfielder Juan Sebastián Verón. Although the player's form wasn't at all bad and he had his fair share of first team appearances, Verón failed to live up to the high expectations his transfer fee suggested and two years later he was offloaded to Chelsea in a £15million deal. Verón's spell at Chelsea proved to be even less successful, and after just seven Premiership appearances during the 2003-04 season he agreed a one-year loan deal with Inter Milan.


Two games into the 2001-02 season, Manchester United fans were shocked when Dutch central defender Jaap Stam was suddenly sold to Lazio in a £16million deal. The reason for Stam's departure was believed to have been claims in his autobiography Head to Head that he had been illegally spoken to about a move to Manchester United by Alex Ferguson, before his previous club PSV Eindhoven had been informed. The club's supporters were even more shocked when Sir Alex Ferguson replaced Stam with Inter Milan's 35-year-old central defender Laurent Blanc.

During November and early December in 2001, Manchester United endured their worst league form in over a decade - six defeats in seven Premiership fixtures, three defeats at each side of a win. On 8th December 2001, Manchester United were ninth in the Premiership - 11 points behind leaders Liverpool who had a game in hand. Sir Alex Ferguson had already written off his side's chances of claiming a unique fourth successive Premiership title.

But then came a dramatic turn around in form. Between mid December and late January, nine successive wins saw Manchester United climb to the top of the Premiership and put their title challenge back on track.

In the end, United finished third in the Premiership (their first finish outside the top two since they finished sixth in the 1990-91 old First Division), lost on away goals to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League Semi Finals, were knocked out of the F.A Cup in the Fourth Round by Middlesbrough, and were knocked out of the League Cup in the Third Round by Arsenal. This meant that Manchester United had failed to finish winners or runners-up of a major competition for the first time since the 1988-89 season.

The 2001-02 season was to have been Sir Alex Ferguson's last as Manchester United manager, but in February 2002 he agreed to stay in charge for at least another three years.

But 2001-02 was the last season at Old Trafford for some of its longest serving players, including full back Denis Irwin (who had joined the club in 1990) and Ronny Johnsen (who had been on the club's payroll since 1996).

The close season saw Manchester United break the British transfer record yet again when they paid Leeds United £30million for 24-year-old central defender Rio Ferdinand.


Manchester United yielded their eighth Premiership title in 11 seasons at the end of 2002-03, yet just over two months before the end of the season they had lost to Liverpool in the League Cup final and slipped eight points behind leaders Arsenal on the same day. But an improvement in form for United, and a decline for Arsenal, saw the Premiership trophy gradually slip out of the Londoner's grasp and push it back in the direction of Old Trafford.

On 4 May 2003, Manchester United's title success was confirmed when Arsenal lost 3-2 at home to Leeds United - a result which ended Arsenal's title hopes and secured Leeds's survival. Ironically, it was to be Arsenal's last Premiership defeat for 49 games - a run which was ended in October 2004 by Manchester United, a run which included Arsenal completing the 2003-04 season as unbeaten Premiership champions.

The close season saw the Manchester United squad boosted by the arrival of several foreign players including American goalkeeper Tim Howard, Brazilian midfielder Jose Kleberson, Cameroonian midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba and French striker David Bellion. On their way out were retiring central defender Laurent Blanc and, more significantly, David Beckham. The 28-year-old midfielder had agreed to end 12 years at Old Trafford by signing for Real Madrid in a £17million deal which could eventually rise to £25million. Beckham is still at Madrid nearly two years later, although he has been linked with a return to England since not long after arriving in Spain. Arsenal and Chelsea have both been linked with transfers to sign Beckham.

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