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The tale of two talismans

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Ferguson says he has had to step back at United

Sir Alex Ferguson says his job has completely changed since taking charge of Manchester United in 1986 and that he has had to relinquish much of his control of the club.

Ferguson is in charge of around 100 players and staff at Old Trafford but, while there is no question about his authority, he has revealed he has taken a major step back from many aspects of the club as he would not be able to successfully control every detail in the modern era.

"It would be impossible to work in the same way I did in 1986," he said in the Daily Mail. "It is a completely different job and I've had to manage that change and change myself.

"It's too big a beast now to be hands-on with everything. Delegating is essential. I've learned at this level you need good people around you. I trust them and rely on them.

"If I didn't, you know what happens? They leave and you are left behind to clear up the mess. There must be about 40 people who report to me now, quite apart from the players.

"I've got five physios, a doctor, an optometrist, a paediatrician, a weight trainer, three fitness coaches, two video analysts, two reserve team coaches, a youth coach, (assistant) Mike Phelan, (first-team coach) Rene Meulensteen, (director of youth football) Jim Ryan and the academy staff.

"I used to be in control of all the schools of excellence, knew everything. Nobody could deal with that now."

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