Eleven men, all hated by one man
United players fall into two distinct camps: the ones Sir Alex will personally visit over Christmas for a cuddle – Giggs, Irwin, Solksjaer, Neville, Scholsie – and those he’ll spy on from a nearby tree, whispering profanities under his breath – Dwight Yorke, Becks, and now Cristiano Ronaldo. Ferguson does not tolerate certain characters, and as things stand, the gelled-up winger looks likely to be playing himself into this team of rebels, all of whom still send angry chills up Ferguson’s aging spine.
GK Jim Leighton
Leighton was riding the crest of a wave in his early Man United days, with even Brian Clough saying “Jim Leighton is a rare bird – a Scottish goalkeeper that can be relied on.” But then Sir Alex axed him from the 1990 FA Cup final replay against Palace, sending the keeper into a downward spiral, involving anger, shame, Les Sealey, and, eventually, Dundee.
DL Gabriel Heinze
The future was so bright for Heinze (pronounced “hent-zay” apparently) – United fans loved him, his hair was only second in footballing terms to Ginola’s. But then it all went hideously wrong. His body revolted, Ferguson embarked on a love affair with Patrice Evra, and Gabriel could no longer be guaranteed the satin starting shirt he so yearned for. He threw an almighty strop, and finally Ferguson bundled him in the direction of Real Madrid – simultaneously ignoring the clamour from Liverpool.
DC Paul McGrath
McGrath was a warrior, and a fantastic player. It was his perpetual drinking that Sir Alex couldn’t get his head around. Whilst a Keegan-esque manager might have gone the Florence Nightingale route and attempted to save the troubled defender, Ferguson was happier to hurl the drunkard out into the road. Where he was picked up by a van and zipped over to Villa, incidentally.
DC Jaap Stam
Ferguson had a late-90s policy of buying ugly, and they don’t come much more uneasy on the eye than Jaap Stam. The man was a monster. He also made the mistake of lifting the lid on some shady Man United dealings in his autobiography, and very quickly found himself surrounded by sensual Italians at Lazio.
DR Roy Keane
Sir Alex has no problem with right backs – Gary Neville, Wes Brown, David May, Paul Parker – so Roy Keane is going to have to man up at the back. A job he would no doubt thrive on. The pair were like brothers for so long, until the student started sniping at his master’s methods, and found himself chugging along on the next boat up to Celtic.
ML Andrei Kanchelskis
Boy, was Kanchelskis quick? Yes he was. Unfortunately, while he could zip up and down either wing like a man in rocket shoes, he couldn’t keep a lid on his ever growing ego. After scoring 48 goals in 145 games, Sir Alex decided that it was Everton’s turn to look after him. They could work together no longer, reportedly.
MC Gordon Strachan
Strachan worked with Ferguson at both United and Aberdeen, and he LOATHED it. He ran away from Scotland to get away from Fergie, only to be at United when he took over. “The screaming and shouting did not cease, it just got worse and more personal,” he shivered. Hence, off he went to Leeds in 1989.
MC Paul Ince
Of course, Ferguson coined his “big-time charlie” term about Paul Ince. The pair were at loggerheads from the get go, like two lions slowly circling one another in a cage. Fergie called him a “bottler”, Ince proved his bottle by meandering off to join massive rival club Liverpool, via a spell at Inter.
MR David Beckham
Everything was brilliant when Sir Alex was Becksie’s number one, but then Posh Spice came along and ruined everything. The haircuts, the fashion shows, the designer children. It was more than Ferguson could take – cue boots in the face, that hairdryer thing, before shoving Becks out of the door in the direction of sunny Spain.
FC Dwight Yorke
Yorke was fantastic for United at a time when they had Sheringham, Cole and Solskjaer to choose from. But word has it that Fergie got tired of his ridiculous playboy lifestyle, specifically when he started grubbing around with bosomy glamour girl Jordan. That was the final straw.
FC Ruud van Nistelrooy
Ferguson, of course, can’t stand prima donnas. So when van Nistelrooy started grumbling after spending six games in a row on the bench, Sir Alex thought he’d show him who was boss. Forget that the man had scored 150 goals in 219 games. He was an idiot.
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Tagged With : Andrei Kanchelskis • Cristiano Ronaldo • David Beckham • Dwight Yorke • gabriel heinze • Gordon Strachan • Jaap Stam • Jim Leighton • man united • Paul Ince • Paul McGrath • Roy Keane • Ruud van Nistelrooy • The fallen out with Ferguson XI