Sir Alex Ferguson has warned clubs who think they can get rid of their managers on the cheap they are in for a nasty shock.

As a lifelong believer in unions, and a member of the League Managers' Association management committee, Ferguson has always been at the forefront of managerial issues. Yet, with the increased demands of the current era meaning more club owners adopt a knee-jerk attitude to results, Ferguson has been powerless to prevent managers being sacked, sometimes after only a matter of months in the job.

Ferguson, who pointed out that the LMA has been successful in the last seven compensation cases it has brought to court, told United Review: "There are a lot of constructive ideas coming from the LMA these days and although it isn't a militant organisation, it does protect the rights of managers more effectively."

He added: "Too many clubs have short-changed managers after they had sacked them.

"But with a good barrister behind us clubs who think that delaying tactics could save them money should think again."

Alan Curbishley and Kevin Keegan are just two high-profile figures who have emerged with significant sums from protracted court cases recently.

And Ferguson can see the LMA becoming increasingly proactive within the game as a whole.

"I believe the LMA is making an increasingly important contribution to the development of our game," said Ferguson.

"Under Richard Bevan and Howard Wilkinson the association is putting forward a lot of carefully thought-out proposals that we believe could benefit football.

"For many years football was run with a feudal approach that kept the manager in their place and, inevitably, fragmented us as rivals. Our voice was not heard, or if it was, it wasn't listened to. I am glad to say things have changed."

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