Home » EPL, Latest » Fergie claims he had to stand up to Rooney and player power

Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that Wayne Rooney’s contract stand-off with Manchester United proved that the club would be “finished” if they ever allowed players to become more important than the manager.

Ferguson also railed against the “unbelievable” audacity of agents, confessed to a reluctance for ruthlessness with long-serving players and admitted that Sven-Goran Eriksson had been approached by Manchester United to replace him as manager in 2002.

But having celebrated his 69th birthday last Friday, Ferguson insists his position at the club must remain all powerful after overcoming Rooney’s desire to leave Old Trafford in October.

“The most important thing you have to have managing at our club, and I’m sure it is now embedded in the constitution of the club, is that the most important person at Manchester United is the manager.” Ferguson told Irish broadcaster RTE.

“The minute a player becomes more powerful than the manager of Manchester United, our club is finished. It will never be the same.

“There is a way of dealing with things. You have to be strong and have the support of the board and I have always had that. The important thing is to have your control because that is vital.

“In the case of Wayne, there is no doubt that he took bad advice. We are having to deal with agents all the time nowadays and it’s a hard job to deal with these people.

“They come in with an imagination that’s beyond belief. I remember one agent wanted a striker to be paid for all of the goals that he scored. I told [former chairman] Martin Edwards to remind the agent that was the reason why we wanted to buy the player!

“Another wanted us to buy blocks of flats for him! This is what you’re dealing with today – it’s unbelievable.”

After aborting plans to retire in 2002, Ferguson insists all thoughts of standing down are now firmly off the agenda.

He said: “I’m 69 now, but you say to yourself, what happens when you retire? What do you do? I said to my wife some time ago that we could always travel, but at our age, you can’t just jump on a plane.

“That’s why I have no plans. There are no plans for me to retire. I hope my health stays as it is so I can carry on.

“I made a mistake some years ago because I thought my 60th birthday was a good time to retire.

“I changed my mind, but they [United] had already approached Sven-Goran Eriksson to take the job. I said my family are going off their head and Maurice Watkins [club solicitor] just laughed and said, ‘OK’.”

With Ferguson facing decisions on the futures of veteran players such as Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, he admits his natural ruthlessness will be tested by their loyalty.

He said: “It’s black-and-white really in the sense that the evidence is always on the football field. If it’s about football, it’s clear-cut. Sometimes, when a player grows old, you have to recognise it and they have to move on.

“But the spirit of Manchester United was created by the 1992 youth team. The two Nevilles, Giggs, David Beckham, Scholes and Nicky Butt – those players created the spirit of Manchester United.

“So when it came down to [selling] Phil Neville and Nicky Butt, I was actually trying to dodge talking to them. It got to the point where I was saying to myself, ‘I can’t handle this, I need to do something about it’.

“Their whole families had been fantastically loyal to me and the club, so that becomes a stronger issue. You tell yourself you can let the lads go, but where do you get that loyalty from again?”

Source: Telegraph

Related Posts

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.