‘What did your grandfather do? What did your father do?’
Legendary Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has revealed some of the motivational techniques he used on his players in a new documentary clip.
The clip is from ‘Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In‘, which was directed by his son Jason, and will be in cinemas from May 27 and released on Amazon Prime Video on May 29.
The 79-year-old talks about his belief in the importance of knowing a player’s upbringing in order to get the best out of them.
“I used to lie in bed thinking about themes where I could address the players that would make an impact on them,” Ferguson said.
“I would talk about miners, shipyard workers, welders, toolmakers. You know, people who’ve come from poor backgrounds.”
Ferguson would often ask his players family questions and would then cite his own upbringing in Glasgow in order to relate.
“I used to ask them: What did your grandfather do? What did your father do? I have to get the feeling inside them that what their grandfathers worked for, their grandmothers, is part of them,” Ferguson continued.
“They have to display that meaning. And, taking away all the trophies I’ve won, and all the players I’ve had, I think it’s a thing about life. It’s a fact of life that where we come from is important.
“You come out with an identity. I come from Govan. I’m a Govan boy.”
'I'm a Govan boy' – Sir Alex Ferguson on family pride and how he used it to motivate his Manchester United players pic.twitter.com/bXYCGvDd7U
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) April 22, 2021
Also in the documentary, Ferguson regrets a time where he bit his tongue in front of a Rangers director when signing for the club.
“When I signed for Rangers, one of the directors asked me about Cathy (Ferguson’s wife),” Ferguson recalled.
“He says, ‘I have to ask you a question about your wife. I believe she is Catholic, were you married in a chapel?’. I said, ‘No we got married in the registry office,’ and he says, ‘Oh, that’s OK’.
“I should have told him to f**k off.
“I really should have but having supported Rangers as a boy and having the opportunity to go out and play for Rangers, you are prepared to take nonsense.
“I let myself down there and I let my wife down – that was the most important thing – because she was a devout Catholic.”
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