Alan Pattullo: Ferguson and Strachan unite (no DeLorean required)

INSPIRED by yesterday’s date being the one programmed into a souped-up DeLorean in one of the Back to the Future films, it is tempting to make some then and now comparisons.

Side by side: Gavin Strachan and Darren Ferguson at Doncaster. Picture: Tony Johnson
Side by side: Gavin Strachan and Darren Ferguson at Doncaster. Picture: Tony Johnson

In 1985, when the original film appeared, Gordon Strachan had only recently irked Alex Ferguson to the extent that the latter would later write he “could not be trusted an inch”. The reason for this epic fall-out revolved around Strachan signing a pre-contract agreement with Cologne when the pair were at Aberdeen together. He ended up signing for Manchester United, where Ferguson promptly landed in 1986, much to Strachan’s initial dismay.

Strachan eventually moved on to Leeds and then Coventry, latterly as manager. Relations did not improve. Strachan once accused Ferguson of fielding a weakened team against Derby, something that contributed to his Coventry side’s relegation in 2001. While they do now seem to have agreed life is too short for squabbling, it was still a surprise to read last week that Strachan and Ferguson were now working together. Who’d have thought it all those years ago?

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Of course, it isn’t them, but their sons. Darren Ferguson has been appointed manager of Doncaster and quickly ensured Gavin Strachan was recruited from Ilkeston as his right-hand man.

It is a delicious scenario; two scions of once-warring Scottish football legends rising above the previous childish behaviour of their fathers. And they have already proved the Ferguson-Strachan combination can still be relied upon to produce a certain synergy, even if it is not now generated by bad blood.

With a Ferguson and Strachan sitting happily side-by-side on Tuesday night, Doncaster won 2-1 at Shrewsbury Town. It was their first away victory since April.