“I was part time at St Johnstone. In a reserve game against Airdrie I broke my eyebrow, cheekbone and nose and was out for months. They put this massive plaster cast on my face.After I came back from the injury I played three reserve games. We lost 8-1, 7-0 and 9-2. I said that’s it - I’m finished. I took out papers to emigrate to Canada.On the Friday (night before the match against Rangers), my brother’s girlfriend phoned up my manager at St Johnstone and told him I had the flu. But when I arrived home from a regular Friday night at the swimming baths with my mates, my mother tore into me and said, ‘I’ve had a telegram from your manager - get down to the telephone booth and call him. The manager said, ‘Report to the Bath Hotel tomorrow, you’re playing against Rangers’. I scored a hat trick and became the first player to do so against Rangers at Ibrox – it changed my life. I became a full time footballer in the summer and never looked back.”
Does this sound like it comes from a person with lot of self doubts? Wrong, he is now considered to be the epitome of determination and single mindedness. He is now 68 and the most celebrated football manager of modern era. He is the one who famously announced that his aim is to “knock Liverpool off their fucking perch”. He is the one who took the “Come back when you have 18” banner as a personal abuse and with a combination of non-paralleled arrogance and ruthlessness collected Manchester United’s 18th League crown in 2009. No prizes for guessing, he is none other than Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 2010 Premier League season looms large and the only thing which is sure in what is promising to be a season in which at least 5 teams claim to have title credentials, is that Sir Alex and his band of red devils will give an almighty fight to get that crown back to Old Trafford. Carlo Ancelotti had a tremendous first season with Chelsea in which he bagged the double but so had Jose Mourinho when he landed in Stamford Bridge. In fact one of Ferguson’s main traits over the last 21 years has been his will and guile to outlast, out-think and out-manage his rivals. From George Graham to Arsene Wenger, from Rafa Benitez to Jose Mourinho, the United head honcho has seen all of them coming and wrestle with him, some miserably some successfully, but has had the last laugh invariably. Add Ancelotti to that list and another mouthwatering season awaits us.
Winning that title number 19 is very much embedded in his genes and all the rumors about him retiring can wait until the goal is achieved. After all he has delivered most of his promises over the last 21 years. We can safely assume that knocking Liverpool of their fucking perch will be on top is his promise list. Bring it on