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ALEX FERGUSON My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson

ALEX FERGUSON My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson

Author:Alex Ferguson
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Tags: Soccer, Football, Sports & Recreation, General, Leadership, Biography & Autobiography, Sports, Business & Economics
ISBN: 9781848948631
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Published: 2013-10-24T21:25:13+00:00


fourteen

EACH time a member of our great homegrown generation left the club, I would count those left. Two managed to stay to the end of my time: Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. Gary Neville almost made it through with me. Even now I can visualise the six of them taking the mickey out of each other as boys after training. Scholesy would try to hit the back of Nicky Butt’s head with the ball – or Gary’s head more often. He was a devil for that. Those half-dozen young men were inseparable.

These were solid human beings: the sort you hated losing. They understood the club and its purpose. They would march with you, defend the principles on which we operated. Any parent would recognise that moment when a 21-year-old walks in and says they are going to buy their own place, or move in with their girlfriend or take a job in some other town. They leave you. Football was the same for me. I became greatly attached to the men who were with me from their teenage years, the so-called Class of ’92. I saw them grow from 13 years of age.

Nicky Butt was a prime example. He always reminded us of the cartoon character with the freckles, big ears and buck teeth on the front page of the comic, Mad. That mischief, that devilment. They were so long under my care that they felt like family to me. I would chastise them more than other players because they felt like relatives more than employees. Nicky was always up to something, a jack the lad. He was also brave as a lion, incapable of shirking any challenge.

He was one of the most popular players to have played at our club. He was a real Manchester lad. Down to earth and mentally tough. Like Phil Neville, Nicky reached the point where he wasn’t playing often enough to satisfy his competitive urges. That prompted him to look elsewhere for openings. Once again we let him go very cheaply, for £2 million. Those men didn’t owe us a penny. We had acquired them for nothing through our academy. The money for Nicky was a token sum to ensure he left for the best deal. Right to the end of his playing days, he would refer to us as his club.

Behind my back, I’m sure those lads resented bearing the brunt of my annoyance. ‘Oh, me again,’ they probably thought. ‘Why don’t you give him over there some?’

The first person I would give stick to was Giggsy, bless him. As youngsters they would never answer back. With time, Ryan learned to defend himself. Nicky might also retaliate now and then. Gary would have a go. But then Gary would answer his shadow back. He has to have an argument every day. He would be up at six o’clock with the papers, texting Di Law or later Karen Shotbolt, our press officers: ‘Have you read this in the Telegraph or The Times?’

We always said of Gary that he woke up angry.



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