Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates his 78th birthday on Tuesday, December 31. Sir Alex spent 26 years at Old Trafford winning numerous honours, dominating the Premier League like no manager ever. Arguably one of the most cut-throat managers in the world of football, he was famous for giving his players the 'hairdryer treatment' if their performance did not please him even if you were England legends Wayne Rooney or David Beckham. Here, let’s take a look at a few instances where Sir Alex Ferguson dished out the hairdryer on his players.
David Beckham faced more than just a hairdryer from Sir Alex Ferguson. The United boss was disappointed by the No.7’s performance in their 1-0 defeat against Arsenal in the FA Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson accidentally kicked a boot towards David Beckham, which hit the England midfielder above his eye. While both David Beckham and Sir Alex have given different accounts to the incident in their respective books, the fact that the United boss had a go at his player is in itself substantial. David Beckham was subsequently sold to Real Madrid after the incident.
Manchester United’s record goal-scorer also had his fair share of the hairdryer treatment despite being one of the top players at the Manchester United. In his autobiography My Decade, Wayne Rooney provides insight into one of the times that he received the hairdryer treatment from Sir Alex Ferguson. Manchester United won the title with two games to spare in 2007 but Ferguson lost it after a 1-0 loss at home to West Ham on the final day of the campaign. Wayne Rooney says that while players would be celebrating their success, the players were in the dressing room listening to an earful from Sir Alex Ferguson. The treatment was such that Wayne Rooney says that it took them time to get their Premier League winning celebrations on.
Sir Alex Ferguson's 'hairdryer' is clearly intimidating but it can also inspire. Ferguson's teams were involved in some classic matches in the Premier League, including the extraordinary 5-3 victory over Tottenham at White Hart Lane in September 2001. Behind 3-0 at half-time, Alex Ferguson’s United staged a memorable comeback through goals from Andy Cole, Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and David Beckham. In an interview with the club's official website, Juan Sebastian Veron later revealed that a dressing-down from Ferguson at the break inspired the fightback. Vero said that Sir Alex Ferguson was not impressed and he accused the players of having no respect, which spurred the players to stage a come from behind victory.