There is a an ironic twist to all this, and it is mentioned in the manager’s autobiography Managing My Life. His managerial career began in 1974 with East Stirling. The lack of playing resources was almost laughable by today’s standards but Fergie was determined to make the best of it. That included trying to persuade the club directors to adopt a more fashionable playing strip (away from the thin black and white hoops which had been a club symbol since the late 19th century).
However, he was told bluntly by a board director, the late Jimmy Hastings: “Look, sonny, that strip was here when my father was a young man and it will be here long after you’ve gone.”
This should illustrate to all aspiring football managers and players that iconic status can grow from humble beginnings, that early setbacks and discouragement can be overcome.
Everyone needs to keep a sense of proportion about the importance of football. Nobody should ever underestimate its potential for showing what can be done with determination, staying power and vision.
ON TUESDAY, the BBC News broadcast elements of the Queen’s Speech. It also commemorated the Battle of the Atlantic when, had we been defeated, the UK would have starved. However, the BBC chose to open its prime-time news programmes with the retirement of a football manager.
Would a spokesman for the BBC like to go into print and justify this choice of priorities?