'Sir Alex Ferguson is a man of fierce intellect'

AUTHOR Q&A: The former Man U football coach on what we can learn from one of Britain's great managers.

by Damian Hughes
Last Updated: 29 Oct 2014

What made you write this book?

Football is a great example of an industry where change is both fast and unforgiving. Football managers last, on average, just 16 months. Shockingly, 55% of managers who are dismissed will never work in this capacity again. Before he retired, Ferguson had outlasted 13 Manchester City managers. I wanted to look at what we could learn from a man who had been at the apex of his profession for more than 30 years.

What was it like working alongside Fergie?

I started my career at Manchester United in a youth football coaching role. I never worked directly with Sir Alex, but I was aware of the influence he had in shaping the culture and mindset of his club. As the club's former chief executive David Gill put it: 'Steve Jobs was Apple; Sir Alex Ferguson is Manchester United.'

Tell us one thing we didn't know about him.

Ferguson is a natural storyteller. He has an outstanding memory for the smallest pieces of information. He is a man of fierce intellect with an impressively high IQ and an astute appreciation of what makes other people tick.

Sir Alex has been described as 'tyrannical'. Is he really a role model for managers?

He isn't always 'fuming' or 'exploding'. Even his enemies would concede that he can also be warm, charming and convivial, with kind edges and an infectious laugh. And the thing he did best was manage change.

Published by Aurum Press, £9.99

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