What was business like a decade ago?

It's 50 years since MT was first published, so we've trawled the archives to bring you some gems from times gone by. The third in our series: 2001-5.

by Adam Gale
Last Updated: 09 Jun 2016

Football Management Today?

Management isn't just confined to offices. In April 2005, MT popped along to Old Trafford to interview the then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, catching him mid-shout. 'Ferguson is living up to his image as the prime exponent of the hairdryer school of management, the regular dishing out of up-close dressings-down, accompanied by physical outbursts that occasionally end in tears, the most famous instance being the changing-room spat that left David Beckham with a cut brow.'

The Scotsman did reveal a more thoughtful side, however. 'I love my players, I do. I love them. But that doesn't mean you neglect your paternal job of saying: "I expect better than that of you, come on".'

Enron's CSR apocalypse

Enron's last CSR report was a corker, MT wrote in January 2003. 'Sprinkled with images of sunlit foliage and ethnic faces, it dwells on how the fraudulent energy giant conserved trees in Bolivia and told the security men at its Indian subsidiary to stop beating people up.' But that wasn't enough to save it - or auditing giant Arthur Andersen, which was implicated in shredding evidence for Enron. In October 2002, MT charted the decline and fall of the 'Androids', who had always enjoyed 'referring to themselves as the professional services marine corps - the best of the best'. The critical moment came on BBC's Newsnight, when Jeremy Vine 'kebabed' managing partner John Ormerod over 10-and-a-half gruelling minutes. 'By the end of the summer, the once proud name of Andersen had been expunged from daily commercial life.'

Arthur Andersen employees protest outside the company’s offices in Manhattan in March 2002 

35 women Under 35 v1.0

Fed up with the lack of recognition for women in business, MT decided to set up its now famous list of rising stars in July 2001. Among them were such luminaries as designer Stella McCartney, current TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding, recently defenestrated fund manager Katherine Garrett-Cox, bra tycoon (now Lady) Michelle Mone and the then News of the World editor (now phone hacking scandal veteran) Rebekah Wade.

Enter 35 Women Under 35 2016 here

Flying high with the new kings of the sky

The events of 9/11 cast a dark cloud over the airline industry, which worldwide lost an estimated $6.5bn in the year that followed. 'Once-proud flag carriers are now waving their national emblems at half mast,' MT wrote in September 2002. This, however, created an opportunity for low-cost rivals easyJet and Ryanair to take off. 'When the flight costs less than 50 quid, nobody seems to care that they have to pay £1.50 for a cup of tea or a fiver for a sandwich.' The trend for budget travel turned out to be more than hot air. From 2001 to 2002, easyJet doubled its passenger numbers to a million; today, it averages five times that amount.


'It's a hint that Google is more than yet another Silicon Valley start-up.' Having noticed that Google had become a verb in April 2003, MT predicted great things for the search engine.

'Viagra faces stiff competition.' MT's investigation into whether Pfizer's wonder drug would rise to the challenge of new competitors Levitra and Cialis, February 2004.

'Shit!' Sir Alan Sugar told MT as he fiddled with his Amstrad emailer in May 2001, long before The Apprentice and his elevation to the nobility. 'The f***ing phone's gone blue-screen again! Are you serious? It's unbelievable! Unbelievable!'

'Julius Caesar was an early Succeeder,' freshly arrived American 'motivational speaker'Vaughan Spencer (pictured left, bearing a striking resemblance to performer Neil Mullarkey) told MT in April 2003. 'Remember his catchphrase? Veni, vidi, succeedi ... I came, I saw, I succeeded. So I'm a Succeeder in a long line of Succeeders. Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, Tim Henman and Phil Collins - all of whom undoubtedly used my methods.'

Credits: CP Canadian Press/The Canadian Press/PA Images, Harry Borden, Etienne De Malglaive/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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