United legend dismisses historical Fergie sack story

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Sir Bobby Charlton is adamant Sir Alex Ferguson would not have been sacked if he had lost that fateful FA Cup tie at Nottingham Forest.

It has gone down in history that if Manchester United had fallen in their 1990 third-round clash with Brian Clough's side at the City Ground, Ferguson would have been out of a job. There would have been no 11 Premier League titles or two European Cups, or the other mountain of trophies Ferguson has amassed.

"The media were the ones who were pushing," recalled Charlton. "If Alex Ferguson got sacked it would have been a really good story for them. In fairness, their philosophy was based on what they had before. If a manager was unsuccessful, you sack him."

Charlton added: "But behind the scenes, Alex was already really successful. There was not a thought about the future of Alex Ferguson at this club."

As it turned out, the media storm was calmed by a Mark Robins header that propelled United on a course towards Wembley, where they needed two games to overcome Crystal Palace before lifting the first silverware of the Ferguson era.

And, as the Glaswegian gets ready to overtake Sir Matt Busby as the longest-serving United manager of all time on Sunday, Charlton insists United were on a path to glory, no matter what the outcome of that one match in Nottingham was.

Although he acknowledges he was one of Ferguson's main defenders in the boardroom, Charlton insists there was no impassioned speech on the Scot's behalf.

"I didn't have to say anything. They all knew," he said. "You have a feeling at a football club whether things are right or wrong.

"There was no nastiness about Alex when he lost a match. It was just a feeling of 'it will happen'. You just felt success was coming, so you couldn't criticise him.

"Half the problems that people get into is the fact that they get rid of managers too soon. We would not make that mistake."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Premier League
Manchester United

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