Sir Alex Ferguson says he did not rule by fear at Manchester United, claiming he only used his infamous “hairdryer” treatment six times in his 27 years at Old Trafford.
Ferguson oversaw an unrivalled period of domination at United in which he led the club to 38 trophies, including two Champions League titles, before finally calling time on his reign in 2013.
The 74-year-old had a reputation for delivering verbal volleys at his players so intense it earned the nickname “the hairdryer,” with Wayne Rooney saying in his book that there was “nothing worse” than experiencing it.
However, Ferguson was quoted in The Sun as saying at the World Business Forum in Milan: “There was a lot of myth about it. It happened about half a dozen times in 27 years and the players will tell you that.
“The problem for me was if a player answered me back, I headed towards them. That was my problem.
“[Former Celtic and Scotland boss] Jock Stein always said to me, ‘Leave it until Monday to talk to them,’ but I said I couldn’t wait until Monday. So, on a Saturday after the game, I told them exactly how I felt, because we had trained at a level all week that I expected to win every game.
“I told them exactly the truth and the truth works. All the players understood that and it was never held against me. Then the next day it is pushed aside and I’m prepared to win again. I never ruled by fear.
“Name a Manchester United team that played with fear. My job was to get a positive attitude into that team, for them to express themselves, never give in and enjoy playing for the club. That is sacrosanct.”
Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, who played for Ferguson at Aberdeen from 1978 to 1984 and at United from 1986 to 1989, said this week: “I regularly got the hairdryer treatment. You had to see it to believe it but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
“He used to wear black shoes, always shiny, and these shoes would come in and shuffle about, looking for someone. Then these shoes stopped and pointed at me: ‘Oh no, here goes.’
“It was horrendous. He comes up to you that close your noses touch.”
Former United midfielder Shinji Kagawa, meanwhile, said last year that he was shocked by the “hairdryer” and added: “It really was like a hairdryer, as it is called. He shouted really hard with his face really red, especially at the core players.
“The fact that he can shout at leading players such as Rooney, [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes, Rio [Ferdinand] shows his presence.”
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate