Sir Alexander Chapman “Alex” Ferguson

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“Only true champions come out and show their worth after defeat- and I expect us to do that.”

Residence: Wilmslow, Chershire, Manchester

Nationality: Scottish

Occupation: Football Player (Retired), Football Manager (Retired)

Years Active: 1957 – 1974 (Player), 1974 – 2013 (Manager)

Net Worth: US$48 Million

History/Background:

Born on 31 December 1941 in his grandmother’s home in Govan, Scotland, Alex Ferguson played as a forward from 1957 – 1974, in a relatively undistinguished playing career that spanned over 6 football clubs in Scotland – including his boyhood club Rangers Football Club.

After retiring as a player in 1974, Alex Ferguson was appointed manager of East Stirlingshire at a tender age of 32. There, he gained a fast reputation as a disciplinarian. However, his stay at East Stirlingshire was short lived as – only 4 months later – he was invited to manage at St. Mirren. While, they were below East Stirlingshire in the league, Ferguson still took the job after advice from Jock Stein, himself a great football manager in his era.

Ferguson would go on to manage St. Mirren for 4 years before moving to Aberdeen Football Club where he won his first major trophies both domestically (in Scotland), and more importantly, in the European Stage – winning the European Cup Winner’s cup after beating Real Madrid in the final on 11 May 1983. That victory, combined with continued domestic success with Aberdeen, proved to be a springboard for Alex Ferguson’s subsequent appointment – his longest and what would ultimately prove to be his last – as the manager of Manchester United Football Club.

After rejecting numerous advances from other clubs in England, including Liverpool and Tottenham, Alex Ferguson was appointed manager of Manchester United Football Club on 6 November 1986. He soon found out that he had inherited a team who was often found to be “drinking too much” and languishing in the bottom of the league table. He quickly took to re-vamp various aspects of the club such as kicking out all the drinking from his team, re-inventing how training was done, improving on training facilities and how young players where brought through to the first team etc. Success did not come immediately to Alex Ferguson as it took him nearly 3 years before he would claim his first major trophy, an F.A. Cup in the 1989-90 season, that many believed saved his job after numerous calls for his sacking.

Ferguson would go on to manage Manchester United Football Club for an unprecedented 26 years, winning 38 trophies in that time, and being recognized as one of the most influential personalities in the world of football. He retired from management in 2013 after guiding Manchester United to their 20th Premier League Title (13th of which during his reign), the most premier league titles won by any British club in history.

Leadership Traits & Styles:

In his early days as a manager, Alex Ferguson was often described as a disciplinarian, with a strong initiating structure which revolved around high work performance and reaching goals. An autocratic leader in his earliest days, he was often seen to “control” every aspect of his teams so as to ensure that they would be able to achieve the goals set out for them. An example of his highly disciplinarian style can be summed up by a description of his infamous “hairdryer” treatment in which he “gets right up to your face, and shouts.”

In his later years as a manager, Alex Ferguson was observed to “mellow” into a more charismatics leader. Using his experience and know-how to conjure his players and staff to work for him. In addition, he also started to delegate tasks such as training and scouting of players to his coaching staff.

Achievements/Awards:

Alex Fergusons playing career was undistinguished. Winning two Scottish Football League Division 2 titles in the 1962-63 and 1969-70 seasons with St. Johnstone and Falkirk respectively.

However, as a manager, Alex Ferguson won 11 major trophies in 7 seasons with various clubs in Scotland before joining Manchester United in 1986 where, over the course of his 26 years in charge of the club, he won 38 trophies in total including an unprecedented 5 F.A Cups 2 UEFA Champions League Cup, and 13 Premier League Trophies – the most any British manager has ever won.

His personal achievements include 72 awards for best coach/manager of various categories including 27 awards for Manager of the month, 11 awards for manager of the season, and most recently as Manager of the Year in 2013, his 3rd in that category. In addition, Alex Ferguson was also knighted in 1999 for his contributions to the game of football.

Contributions:

  • Led Manchester United Football club to unprecedented success both on and off the football field.
  • Inspired young coaches with his managerial style and successes on and off the football field.
  • Helped developed coaching techniques and strategies for the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) that was used to educate young footballers all across Europe
  • Helped developed players who became leaders in their own right such as Mr David Beckham.
  • Inspire millions of people with his never-say-die attitude, attention to detail, and hunger for success both within and outside the football community. Proving to many that if your work hard enough, keep learning, and adapting to changes, that success will come to you.

Additional Comments:

Sir Alex Ferguson is an exceptional leader in his own right. As a manager in his early days, he inspired many “lower” teams to achieve enormous goals that many would have believed would have been impossible. This, cannot be better illustrated by winning the European Cup Winner’s cup with Aberdeen Football Club in 1983 against one of the world’s best teams at that time, Real Madrid C.F.

With Manchester United, Alex Ferguson transformed the club as a whole, picking them up from the brink of relegation to become one of the world’s richest and most recognized football teams in the world of sport. Today, they boost a worldwide fan base of almost 660 million “mancunians” and are synonymous as a never-say-die attitude team that will fight for a win until the final whistle.

Much of this never-say-die image is down to Sir Alex’s own personality rubbing off on his teams. Over the years, his Manchester United players have always looked to play in an attractive manner until the final whistle of every match. One of the most memorable examples can be seen in the 1999 Champions League triumph – with his team scoring two goals in the final two minutes of the game and snatching victory (and the trophy) from their opponents.

In addition, throughout his 26 years in charge, Sir Alex Ferguson have always been renowned to give young players a chance and helping young players develop into world class footballers and leaders in their own right. Some of the names that have been under the guidance of Sir Alex include Eric Cantona, Steve Bruce, Mike Phelan, Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo, and David Beckham; many of which have either gone on to become managers themselves, or involved in the game of football either as coaches or pundits.

Off the pitch, his influence on the game is further exemplified by his willingness to always extend a helping hand or give advice to his fellow managers including, at times, the opposing manager. Moreover, his football strategies have been used extensively in developing football tactics that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) have used to coach young players from all over the world.

The announcement of his retirement from managing in the summer of 2013 sparked numerous responses of shock and adoration from all kinds of people linked to football and in the world of sports – probably the most telling evidence of his contributions and leadership in the world of sports.

Credits:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Ferguson
http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/feature/leadership/sir-alex-fergusons-retirement-nine-leadership-thoughts/184601
http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130509083709-64875646-13-inspirational-quotes-from-sir-alex-ferguson