“At one point we even discussed hiring referees.”
Alex Ferguson said that Wayne Rooney and Roy Keane were the two Manchester United players who were most difficult to referee in training.
Man United’s training sessions were extremely competitive, with players such as Keane, Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes expecting the best from their teammates.
There was no room for passengers at Old Trafford, and often the competitiveness between players would boil over.
Alex Ferguson on Man United’s training matches.
Ferguson said that Keane and Rooney were the most difficult to referee during training matches.
The former Man United manager claimed that the games were so competitive, the coaching staff considered hiring professional refs to officiate in the matches.
“On our training ground he gave everybody hell,” Ferguson writes about Rooney in his second autobiography.
“Everybody. The referee, the other players. The poor refs – Tony Strudwick, or Mick (Phelan) or René (Meulensteen) – would all say to me, ‘You’re the only one with the authority – you should ref these games.’
“My reply was: ‘There’s no way I’m refereeing these matches.’”
Ferguson: Man United considered hiring referees to officiate training matches.
Ferguson said that the Man United coaching staff would often ‘hope’ Keane’s team won in training.
“I remember Jim blowing his whistle mildly for a foul on a day when Roy Keane was in one of his dark moods, giving everyone stick. His team, our team, the ref, any living creature he could find.
“Jim turned to me with his whistle and said: ‘I hope Roy’s team wins.’
“‘That’s ridiculous, that,’ I said, trying not to laugh.
“‘Yeah, but the grief I’ll get in that dressing room,’ Jim said. At one point we even discussed hiring referees.”