Few managers had a mastery over the media in the way that Alex Ferguson did.
Throughout his spell as Manchester United manager, Alex Ferguson was known to suspend certain journalists’ credentials if he didn’t like the questions he was asked and he even berated the press on occasion for any unfavourable articles they’d written about him or his club.
Ferguson has stormed out of his fair share of press conferences and his exchange with John Motson in 1995 will live long in the memory.
Ferguson, who was fiercely protective over his players, reacted angrily to a question from Motson regarding Roy Keane, who had just been sent off for the third time in 14 games.
“I appreciate that you keep your disciplinary action inside the club, but is the Roy Keane situation one you will have to address?” Motson asked.
That’s when the rare case of a commentator finding himself on the receiving end of Ferguson’s hairdryer treatment took place.
“John, you have no right to ask that question. You are out of order,” Ferguson responded in a clip that appeared in the 2002 BBC documentary, Ferguson Factor.
“You know full well my ruling on that, right? That’s the interview finished.
“I’m not wanting that on. I want to cancel that interview right? The whole fucking lot of it. Cancel it.
“You know the fucking score, son, so fucking make sure that it doesn’t go out or you’ll never get in this fucking club again. You’re fucking not getting in again.”
Ferguson provided the blueprint for how many successful modern-day managers treat the media.
In many ways, however, his sternness with reporters was just a part of his job because when he encountered journalists with whom he’d previously clashed, he’d often act as if no harsh words were exchanged.
“Being so assertive and passionate can sometimes spill over and I’ve experienced Ferguson’s so-called ‘hairdryer treatment’ at first hand,” Motson remembered when writing for the BBC years later.
“It happened after a game between Manchester United and Middlesbrough in 1995, when Roy Keane had been sent off for the third time in 14 games. I asked about the United captain’s disciplinary record and Ferguson erupted.
“But I have to say that when I next saw him, everything seemed to have been forgotten and he treated me in the same way he had prior to the incident.”