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- May 8, 2011
Fergie insists appointing Moyes was still the right call
Sir Alex Ferguson stands by the succession plan which brought David Moyes to Manchester United only to see him fired after less than one full season.
Ferguson insisted United undertook a ‘perfect process’ to find his successor when he left in 2013. Moyes has since been replaced by Louis van Gaal, but life after Fergie continues to prove difficult.
Ferguson - launching his new book Leading- said: ‘I made a decision in October after Cathy’s sister died. I told her I was going to retire but how would I convey that to the Glazer family? I knew what it meant to them, winning the title.’
He recalled how players had ‘downed tools’ when he announced his intention to retire in 2001. He changed his mind that time.
Recalling how he finally left, Ferguson added: ‘I was ready to tell them in March and then (chief executive) David Gill tells me he’s going to retire. That was a serious blow. What did I do now? But I’d made my mind up. It was the right decision.
‘Once I’d conveyed it to the Glazers, then the process started of looking for successors. We chose David Moyes. He had been consistent in his job at Everton, had a good spell there — 11 years and showed appetite. No one knew apart from the Glazers, David Gill and myself. When we appointed him, the press were enthusiastic for a British manager. Unfortunately, somehow it didn’t work out for David. The process was perfect. It was a good process.’
In the book about management, Ferguson insists he did not want to linger around the club, as Sir Matt Busby had done. ‘He had an office in the stadium and was the president of the club,’ said Ferguson of Busby. ‘I took on other challenges. I was never at Carrington. Only once or twice. I made sure I wouldn’t be an interference.
‘I was available for David Moyes and Louis van Gaal if they wanted advice. I made that clear. But I was never an interference whatsoever.’
Ferguson has written in the book about the lack of managerial alternatives at the time of his departure and how he met Pep Guardiola in 2012. ‘I asked Pep to phone me before he accepted an offer from another club but he didn’t and wound up joining Bayern Munich in July 2013,’ wrote Ferguson. ‘We established that several very desirable candidates were unavailable.
‘It became apparent that Jose Mourinho had given his word to Roman Abramovich that he would return to Chelsea and that Carlo Ancelotti would succeed him at Real Madrid. We also knew Jurgen Klopp was happy at Borussia Dortmund and would be signing a new contract. Louis van Gaal had undertaken to lead the Dutch attempt to win the 2014 World Cup.’
When Moyes left, he was temporarily replaced by Ryan Giggs, who Ferguson had long identified as someone with the potential to be a ‘great manager’.
In the new book, Ferguson wrote: ‘He has intelligence, presence and knowledge.’ But he added there was ‘no chance’ that he would have asked any player to step into his shoes when he retired.
The book was launched with a tour which started on Monday night at the Royal Festival Hall, where Ferguson appeared on stage with co-author Sir Michael Moritz and Financial Times editor Lionel Barber.
Ferguson received a raucous reception and a few chants of ‘Red Army’ before he amused his audience with tales from his years at United. He retains his ability to hold the room in his thrall, and a gift for comic timing.