Alex Ferguson: Man Utd legend lost his head after horror tackle on Dennis Irwin vs Feyenoord

Fergie was absolutely fuming...

Sir Alex Ferguson rarely lost his cool on the touchline.

The legendary manager is famous for giving his players the ‘hairdryer treatment’ in the dressing room and on the training ground, but in the public eye, he was fairly calm and composed.

However, there were certain occasions when Ferguson lost his rag on the touchline and one of the most famous instances of just that came in 1997 during a Champions League group stage match between Manchester United and Feyenoord.

In the latter stages of the game when United were leading 3-0 thanks to a hat-trick by Andrew Cole, Denis Irwin was on the receiving end of a disgraceful tackle.

Paul Bosvelt, who went on to play for Manchester City, left the Irish full-back writhing around on the floor in agony with a challenge that fits the description ‘leg-breaker’.

Amazingly, referee Sandor Puhl didn’t even brandish a yellow card in Bosvelt’s direction, despite the fact the tackle was worthy of a far more severe punishment.

GMS Giveaway


Ferguson was understandably raging on the touchline and even shouted “it’s a f****** disgrace” at the Feyenoord manager, Geert Meijer.

Take a look at footage of both the tackle and the reaction from the Scotsman here…

Video: Fergie loses it after horror tackle on Irwin

When Ferguson got angry, he was pretty darn terrifying, wasn’t he? Thankfully, his assistant Brian Kidd was on hand to prevent the situation in the dugouts from completely boiling over.

The Scotsman continued his verbal tirade when Bosvelt made his way to the tunnel, though. After cornering the Feyenoord player, Ferguson reportedly said: “You scumbag, you ratbag, you dirty b******.”

But while his manager was absolutely livid, Irwin himself didn’t hold too much of a grudge against Bosvelt after the Dutchman publicly apologised for his reckless tackle.

Irwin stretchered off vs Feyenoord

“I was obviously very annoyed once the initial shock had subsided, particularly when I watched the incident replayed on television,” Irwin said.

“But if Bosvelt is man enough to apologise publicly, I should be man enough to accept it – and I do. Had I been standing on my left leg at the time, I think it might well have been broken. As it happened, it just went with the tackle and that saved me to some extent.

“People say I was very lucky to escape without a fracture – and I was. But the reality is that I’ve missed some big games for Manchester United and Ireland because of it and there are still more to come. That’s a heavy price to pay for any tackle.”

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