Five mistakes of Sir Alex Ferguson and the art of persistence

Five mistakes of Sir Alex Ferguson and the art of persistence

Thursday May 09, 2013,

3 min Read

It was a monumental day for the world of sports yesterday. Over 25 years of discipline, excellence and perseverance retired. And no, Sachin Tendulkar has not retired (not completely).

Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson announced that he would retire as Manchester United Manager at the end of this season. He leaves the world of football on a high, winning his 38th trophy with his current club, Manchester United by winning this year’s English Premier League.

Through Ferguson’s career, both as a player and a manager, failure and success have featured equally and regularly. But the one thing that stands out in his football career is longevity -- 54 years in all.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Anyone remotely related to football knows of Furious Fergie’s accolades, but here are some failures in his career and life, which not many of you would have heard of --

1) It was a match for the scottish cup final, where Ferguson, who was playing for the Rangers, was meant to mark the Celtic captain, Billy McNeill. A lapse in concentration saw Ferguson let his man go unmarked, who went on to score a decisive, winning goal. This failure would stick with Ferguson for a long time, eventually forcing him to leave his club reluctantly.

2) As a manager, Ferguson has been fired once, by the second club that he managed, St. Mirren. He faced accusations of being "particularly petty", "immature" and of having "no managerial ability". However, the club’s owner later came out to say that the reason Ferguson was fired was because of a breach of contract.

3) His stint with Aberdeen football club was where he tasted his first managerial success. However, he was all of 32 years of age, which was not much older than some of the senior players in the team. It took him three full years before he earned the trust and respect of his players, along with his first silverware.

4) Sir Alex Ferguson took the reigns of Manchester United in the year 1986. It wasn’t until the signing of the legendary Eric Cantona in 1992 that the club won its first league title, also becoming the first Premier League Champions. However, a six year title drought would have seen many a manager out. (In some teams, the prospect of not winning a title in the middle of the season can prompt the axe!)

5) Alex Ferguson also has a record of having been involved in numerous high profile controversies. (Read a list of his controversies here). Furthermore, he has been accused of intimidating referees into extending extra time. (Often quoted as ‘Fergie Time’).


Any one of these failures can cripple a person’s career and sometimes, life. It all boils down to discipline and a strong will, something Sir Alex Ferguson had a lot of. As a startup, it is quintessential to persevere. Time changes everything and if you can see yourself through the tough times, the good times are endless.

Persevere, like Sir Alex Furguson.

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