Alex Ferguson: I'm turning hairdryer off at Manchester United

27 September 2011 12:11
On the eve of a rather ordinary looking game at home to Basle, Sir Alex Ferguson gave an extraordinary glimpse into his life as Manchester United manager as he approaches a quarter of a century in charge at Old Trafford.

With United chasing a fourth Champions League Final appearance in the space of five years, Ferguson was asked to contrast the fiercely competitive nature that has kept him and the club at the top for so long with the softer side to his character that is often talked about but seldom seen.

In a rare moment of self-reflection, he said: 'It's my own make up. I like to see myself in all of my players and that is somewhat obsessive. I'm driven. I don't like losing.

Sensitive soul: Ferguson has revealed another side to his personality


'It's been instilled through the years. It becomes a normal situation when players come into the squad and say "I'd better be like the rest or I won't be here too long". It's driven by me, of course.

'When I started at 32, I made sure I wasn't going to fail in this job but I've mellowed. Maybe I've got a short fuse but it goes away quicker.

'I switch off quite quickly now. When I was younger, dealing with people away from the game was difficult. At Aberdeen, my assistant Archie Knox and I would find a corner of the pub but someone would come over and voice an opinion, which wouldn't go down well.

'Now I just go straight home and what's really important is the post-match drinks with visiting coaches. We never talk about the game because it's gone. You accept it. It's about dealing with people with the same problems as yourself, the same anxieties, the same feelings of losing.' 

Ferguson was asked about his reputation as a firebrand and the infamous hairdryer treatment, as well as comments from former United favourite David Beckham recently that the players live in fear of their manager.  

Up close: Fergie has switched off the hairdryer, but won't shirk confrontation

'I hope not,' replied Ferguson. 'There's a lot of myth attached to that. In training there's nothing but praise for every player. Nothing but positives.

'Where David and other people are coming from is how I react to defeat, which is not easy for me. I don't think I should change. I don't like people who change. I think you should stick by your nature. But after it's over it's over. I never go back. Tomorrow is another day for me.

'The hairdryer is part of the myth and the circus. It's completely exaggerated, like throwing the tea cups.

'But I'm a confrontational character and I don't like people arguing back to me. I think that's where the hairdryer treatment came from.'

Real guts: Fergie was impressed with Lonsdale's attitude

By contrast, Ferguson opened up aboutthe other side of his nature - in particular the story of Max Lonsdale,a teenager rejected by League Two Macclesfield Town who turned up at the United manager's house in Cheshire with a DVD of his performances.

Fergusoninvited him in, watched the tape and offered him a trial at Old Trafford. Although it did not work out, he is still trying to help the 18-year-old find a club in the lower divisions.

He added: 'I admire people with courage, particularly a young person with the guts to come to my door and tell me he wants a career in the game.

'Hopefully we can address his bravery and determination to succeed. Giving in is too easy for some people these days.'

Fergusonprepares to face Basle in United's second game in Group C at Old Trafford without injured strikers Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez.

United should be too strong for their Swiss opponents as they look to build on a draw in their opening game away to Benfica.

Baslemay top the group after beating the Romanians of Otelul Galati, but they have never won on seven visits to England and are without midfielders Xherdan Shaqiri and Benjamin Huggel through suspension.

Business as usual: Fergie is showing no signs of slowing down after 25 years

Their coach Thorsten Fink knows only too well how hard it is to beat United.

Hecame on as an 80th-minute substitute for Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final with his team 1-0 ahead, only to see Ferguson's side snatch the trophy in that unforgettable finish.

'It's not a question of getting equal,' said Fink. 'Going back to 1999 it was a great memory, even in defeat. I think you always gain strength from defeat because everything that hurts helps you improve.

'I count United as one of the sides to win the competition, but we haven't come here to sit and watch, we have come here to play.'

Fink-ing about it: The Basle boss was part of the defeated Bayern side in '99

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Source: Daily_Mail