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Feb 1, 2011

Fergie: Owners need football education

Sir Alex Ferguson believes that modern-day football club owners and directors should be educated about the values of patience in order to avoid the regular managerial sackings that he feels currently blight the game.

Speaking exclusively to ESPN, Ferguson outlined his belief that most club's decision-makers are too heavily influenced by the overly-emotional responses of fans, which leads them to panic and wield the axe prematurely.

"There is a trend at the moment, there's definitely a trend, [though] you hope it goes in cycles," Ferguson told ESPN. "Me and [League Manager Association chief] Richard Bevan have been talking about actually educating directors about the game because you're getting people from abroad at the moment.

"The old style of chairman is gone, you know the old chairman that used to love his club and just be there, and love to be there on a Saturday, have his brandy after the game, these days are gone. We've got aggressive, very ambitious directors and I think nature's changed a lot of people in the last 30 years.

"Nowadays, anything that happens, [the fans] they're screaming over the top of each other, the emotions of the support have generated a different atmosphere in the grounds, and it gets through to the boardrooms and all these directors panic like hell.

Ferguson is still surprised at the lack of time afforded to managers, and revealed his disgust last month at the sacking of friend Sam Allardyce by Blackburn.

And the United boss, who has seen 1069 fellow league managers come and go since he first took the Old Trafford reins in 1986, believes that clubs should take a look at the achievements of himself and Arsene Wenger and take note of what can be achieved with some loyalty.

"It amazes me," Ferguson said. "There's definitely no evidence that sacking a manager brings success and that's been proven. Arsenal and Manchester United...[have] proved that by consistent management that a club can be stable for a long, long time and have success.

"Some other managers, unfortunately it has to be said, don't get that time. We''e always had time here and I suppose that's the great benefit I've had."

Ferguson continues to show no sign of nearing retirement, but said that when the time eventually comes he will be "heading for the hills", though the 69-year-old cannot see his association with Manchester United ever coming to an end.

"Well I will probably have an interest in Manchester United in some capacity of course but the important thing is to cut yourself completely off," Ferguson said. "I would never go to any other job or anything like that, no chance.

"Once I'm finished at United I'll be heading for the hills and the sunset you know. I'll be taking a rest there's no doubt about that. I think the important thing for anyone who retires is to be active. I will be active, there's no question about that, take other interests up."


Sir Alex Ferguson was speaking in an exclusive interview with ESPN, in conjunction with the League Managers Association. Watch the interview on Tuesday night on ESPN UK at 10pm GMT. To subscribe to ESPN, visit www.espn.co.uk/tv

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