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Roy Keane and Darren Fletcher reveal how Alex Ferguson spied on the Manchester United players

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“He didn’t need to have spies in nightclubs any more, he could do it all from his armchair!”

Darren Fletcher and Roy Keane have revealed the methods that Alex Ferguson used to keep Manchester United players in line.

Former Man United midfielder Fletcher has said that Ferguson kept up with technological changes to do keep tabs on his players in his later years at the club.

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How Ferguson kept up with technology to spy the Man United players.

“He had an iPad and all the apps,” Fletcher told the Daily Mail during an interview.

“He had someone at the club following players on Twitter. So he would say to a player, “Did you have a good day out yesterday?” and the player would be, ‘How the hell did he know I was there?’

“And I would be thinking, ‘Well obviously you have posted a picture of yourself on Twitter haven’t you!’

“He didn’t need to have spies in nightclubs any more, he could do it all from his armchair!”

How Ferguson kept tabs on Man United players.

When Ferguson became Man United manager in 1986, he inherited a team with a busy social life.

English football had a massive drinking culture, but Ferguson set about moving on the chief socialisers in the United squad.

In the early 1990s, the drinking culture remained, but Ferguson had a range of spies at pubs and nightclubs in Manchester to keep tabs on his players.

According to former United centre forward Mark Hughes, “Fergie knew every bouncer of every nightclub in Manchester.”

“That’s where he got his information from! It wasn’t a bad tactic in those days because a lot of the lads were bouncing round nightclubs thinking they were getting away with it.”

“An Irish weekend, Roy?”

Keane, meanwhile, said that in his first season at the club, Ferguson would always know when he had been out at the weekend.

“‘An Irish weekend, Roy?’ the gaffer would ask me as I appeared on the training ground on Monday mornings obviously worse for wear,” Keane wrote in his first autobiography.

“The gaffer was well aware that drinking sessions, serious ones, took place. In fact, as a I quickly discovered, Alex Ferguson had a network of informants in the Manchester area who supplied him with information about the social behaviour of his players.

“Manchester was a village, you couldn’t move without the gaffer finding out.”

“Didn’t you get into a taxi at half two this morning in Deansgate?”

Keane said that Ferguson knew where players were drinking and what time they got home at. And that he soon realised it was better to just be honest with the Man United manager.

“‘Roy,’ he’d beckon me over of a morning. ‘Out last night?’ he’d inquire.

‘”Yes, I went for a few drinks.’

“‘What time did you get home?’

“‘I’m not sure, but it wasn’t too late,’ I’d say, chancing my arm.

“‘Not too late… didn’t you get into a taxi at half two this morning in Deansgate?’ Then he’d name the club and precisely whaat time you’d been dropped off at your front door.”

“I soon learned to put my hands up and tell the truth when confronted by the manager. Honesty was the best policy.”

“Everyone would call him because they want to be his mate.”

Ferdinand likened Ferguson to a ‘Mafia’ boss, saying that he retained his army of spies across Manchester.

“The problem is in Manchester – it’s smaller than London – he wouldn’t have to call anyone,” the former Man United defender said.

“Everyone would call him because they want to be his mate… He knew everything. It was like the Mafia.”

Read next – Great footage shows Alex Ferguson team talk before Liverpool v Man United game.

(Originally published on November 20, 2020).

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