In the mind of Sir Alex Ferguson

I had the pleasure to listen to an interview with Sir Alex Ferguson the other day, an interview with Spoony (The Guardian football podcaster).

What it delivered was a fresh change of a football insight, into how the great manager goes about his business conducting himself and the club.

I’ll pick up from the point about dealing with your squad and letting your squad know about team selection.

I pick the team and I explain to them why and I’m pretty restrained with it and I say, “I picked the team today, because I think it’s the best team, but next week it may be different and you may be involved ” and I think by doing that at least you are giving them a little respect and by doing so they’ll keep your trust in you, because they know that if ask someone else, I’ll give them the same story, I’m not changing it for anyone.It’s a matter of picking the team you think is right.

All the players know they can trust me and I’ve had many of them come to me with personal problems that we never reveal to anybody, EVER……and I would try and help them the best I can. That trust is important because, they can depend on that trust all their lives, because they’ve been my player. I think it’s an important partnership with a human being.”

Throughout the interview, the importance of trust between players and the coaches is highlighted. It fits in well with the first rule of our “5 Dysfunctions of a team“, that I blogged here.

When asked, about managing some of  the best players in the world, and how do you keep attracting them, how do you keep reinventing Man Utd? He stayed on point from an Academy point of view.

“Anyone brought up as our players is not a problem, because they will have on them the youth coaches, the reserve coaches, myself and my own staff are very firm with them, in terms of behavour patterns, training ethic, work rate, all these things, are easy to develop when they’re young.”

“If education is correct, you’re putting kids into nursery at 3 or 4 years of age,  you’re getting an early grounding in terms of educational values, going to school, that type of thing, discapline.”

“I think it (discipline) is a great asset to have.”

“They learn also to respect our coaches, all the young players shake hands with the coaches every morning when they come in and say “good morning”. We do that because we want them to respect the coach and let them know how  important that coach is to them, because that coach is their best friend.”

The design of the Man Utd Academy is exactly what I observed at Royal Standard when meeting Michel Bruyninckx. The academy in Belgium is home to young talent from all over Europe, from some of the very best clubs. While walking the corridors of the Academy, most of the young players not only stopped to say good morning and shake hands of my generous host, but most also approached me as the friend of their head coach/Academy director.

The sense of respect in the academy was very evident and with this obviously comes a great sense of trust among team members, which again leads clearly into developing a culture of team work based with our “5 Dysfunctions of a team“.


[soundcloud params=”auto_play =false”][/soundcloud]


Leave a Reply

Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonYouTube IconSubscribe on YouTubeTwitter Icontwitter follow button