I actually wrote one of these blog posts earlier in the semester and picked French soccer international, Thierry Henry. The close second on my list of people was the one and only Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United’s most celebrated coach of all time. Most of you are probably unaware of who this is. To give you a little background on Sir Alex Ferguson, he the Coach K of Duke basketball or the Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots(A little more respectable might I add). In other words, he is an absolute legend. During his 26 years of coaching at Manchester United, he won 38 trophies including 13 Premier League Championships and 3 Champions League trophies.
To start, I’d love to eat with Sir Alex inside Manchester United’s stadium(Old Trafford) at the Red Cafe. The Red Cafe is a little classier than our American stadium eateries, serving a variety of different steaks and salads. After our meal, we’d retreat to Fergie’s office to talk soccer over an expensive bottle of wine. Sir Alex is extremely fond of wine and always supports the Reds(pun intended).
Me: What would you do to revive Manchester United from their current slump?
It’s hard to imagine what a typical dialogue would consist of because I honestly could never predict his answer to my questions. He has often been praised for his ability to put the right combination of players on the field. Current manager, Louie Van Gaal, has been struggling recently to put a successful combination of players together to get positive results for the club.
Me: What advice would you give an aspiring professional or coach?
I actually had a chance to hear him give a speech at the All-American banquet I attended earlier in the year. He talked about Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the best players in the world, and his unparalleled work ethic. I assume he’d tell me that you need this type of work ethic to become a professional. I also believe he’d tell me you need to want it more than the guy next to you. With desire comes confidence, which is essential for playing at the best of your ability. As for the coaching aspect, he really does have wisdom of the game that surpasses almost every professional soccer coach. I assume he’d say that you need to know your players strengths and weaknesses both on and off the field. Team chemistry is essential for a team to be successful and that starts with the manager’s ability to see which players mesh well together.
Me: When are you making the glorious return from retirement? (Asked jokingly)
I’d assume he’d just laugh and say that he’s hung up the coaching boots. If only Fergie would return, Manchester United could go back to the glory days.