Journalists recall their favourite memories of Sir Alex Ferguson

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On this day 30 years ago, Sir Alex Ferguson was appointed as Manchester United manager.

The rest - as they say - is history.

After 26 years in the Old Trafford hotseat, Ferguson helped United win 38 trophies, establishing them as the most successful side in English football.

There’s very little doubt that Ferguson is one of the best managers football has ever seen, but he certainly upset a few people to achieve his goals.

He fell out with numerous high-profile players during his career and wasn’t afraid to sell anyone that crossed his path.

But his arguments weren’t restricted to just his players.

Ferguson was renowned for being ruthless with journalists - epitomised with his reluctance to do an interview with the BBC for seven years after they made allegations about his son, Jason.

And on this 30-year anniversary, several journalists from The Mirror have recalled their 'favourite' stories of their encounter with the boss.

From being chased from the Old Trafford tunnel to being handed a three-month ban, Ferguson certainly didn’t mess around when it came to journalists.

Dean Morse

"The Mirror had a strained relationship with the club at the time, due to our serialisation of Jaap Stam’s controversial autobiography and a recent interview then-Mirror editor Piers Morgan had done in GQ magazine, in which he jokingly described Fergie as a bigger despot than Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.

"I decided to clear the air with Sir Alex by asking him if there was one thing I could do to improve relations.

"He looked me in the eye and said: 'Aye. You can f*** off and die!'

"I left soon afterwards."

David McDonnell

"I was banned for three months by Alex Ferguson in 2012 for having the temerity to write that the decision to bring Paul Scholes out of retirement was a regressive one from a manager universally regarded, despite his advancing years, as one of the most forward-thinking in football.

"My first experience of his hairdryer came at Cologne airport in September 2002, ahead of a Champions­ League group stage encounter with Bayer Leverkusen.

"Having landed with Ferguson and his squad, the daily-newspaper reporters were waiting by the baggage carousel, waiting for the Scot to come over and give us his customary briefing.

"As soon as I saw his empurpled face and his menacing walk, something told me he wasn't about to congratulate me on my journalistic­ prowess.

"'You’re a f***ing disgrace,' was his opening gambit, before proceeding to tear into me over an unflattering piece I had written on Diego Forlan – who had taken 27 games to score his first United goal.

"He once chased me out of the Old Trafford­ tunnel, where I had gone in search of Roy Keane after the then-United skipper had made his comeback from injury in a reserve game.

"As I lurked near the dressing-room doors, Ferguson, his face a familiar shade of angry puce, spotted me.

"'You know you’re not f***ing allowed down here,' he bellowed, bursting through double doors.
“F*** off!”, he continued to bawl, as I made a hasty retreat down to the mouth of the tunnel."

David Anderson

"He beckoned me outside, saying: “David, can I have a word?”

"By word, he meant rant and as soon as I’d stepped outside, he launched into a foul-mouth tirade, jabbing his finger in my face.

"The cause of his fury was, what I thought, an innocuous reference in a runner to Peter Schmeichel being unavailable for a game a few weeks earlier because of personal reasons.

"Fergie shouted: 'You see that s***e you wrote about Peter Schmeichel? Don’t you f***ing write that f***ing s***e again or you’re f***ing banned, right. Do you hear me?'"

David Maddock

"Perhaps the finest, was when I became a unique footnote in his United history as the only journalist thrown out of a press conference... and refusing to go.

"It happened at the old Cliff training ground when I dared to contradict him over something as mundane as the number of substitutes he’d just named.

"The explosion was deafening, the language industrial as I was branded a “f***ing smart-a**e” and he tried to manhandle me out of the room.

"I refused to go, a stand-off ensued, and eventually - amazingly - he backed down, snarling at me, 'OK, you can stay, but don’t ask any f***ing questions.'"

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Alex Ferguson
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