Twenty six years at Old Trafford: 26 entertaining Ferguson quotes
No football manager produces soundbites quite like Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Manchester United manager is not a man to mince his words and has verbally sparred with opposition managers and players, journalists and even his own players and fans during his 26-year spell in charge.
Ferguson, who is 8/1 to win the Champions League this season, will be honoured this week with the unveiling of a statue outside Old Trafford to celebrate the success he has enjoyed during the best part of the last three decades.
Here we remember 26 memorable Ferguson quotes, with a word of warning that one of them contains bad language.
On referee Alan Wiley following United’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland in October 2009…“The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit. You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher’s dogs. We have some who are fit. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player. He was needing a rest. It was ridiculous.”
On United’s 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp….“I can’t believe it. Football. Bloody hell.”
When his future was questioned in 2002…“My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their ******* perch – and you can print that!”
On Dennis Wise…“He could start a row in an empty house.”
On the Old Trafford faithful after a 1-0 home win over Birmingham in January 2008…“The crowd were dead. It was like a funeral out there.”
After United’s 3-2 away win at Fulham in October 2005…“At half-time it could have been 20-all! But common sense took over – or boring football took over!”
When asked if Liverpool were title contenders in 2007…“You must be joking. Do I look as if I’m a masochist ready to cut myself? How does relegation sound instead?”
On facing Jose Mourinho in the Champions League…“He was certainly full of it, calling me ‘Boss’ and ‘Big Man’ when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper.”
On an Italian legend…“[Filippo] Inzaghi was born in an offside position.”
On facing Italian sides…“When an Italian tells me it’s pasta on the plate I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen.”
After being humiliated at Old Trafford by Manchester City in October 2011…“I can’t believe the scoreline. It’s the worst result in my history, ever. Even as a player I don’t think I ever lost 6-1.”
On the title race in 2002/03…“It’s getting tickly now – squeaky-bum time, I call it.”
On the media…“They (the press) have a hatred of Manchester United.”
On United’s attacking style…“There are goals here. I can smell them.”
On the David Beckham boot incident…“It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn’t happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!”
Ferguson on Ferguson…“I am such a bloody talented guy. I might go into painting or something like that.”
On Arsene Wenger…“He’s a novice – he should keep his opinions to Japanese football”
Reacting to the Rafael Benitez ‘fact’ rant….“I think he was an angry man. He must have been disturbed for some reason.
On ‘Red Nev’…“If he [Gary Neville] was an inch taller he’d be the best centre half in Britain. His father is 6ft 2in – I’d check the milkman.”
On Wenger again…“They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages! I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!”
On the United-City rivalry…“I think we have a rich history, better than anyone and it’ll take them [Manchester City] a century to get to our level of history.”
On pocket rocket Paul Scholes…“I think Paul Scholes is the best player in England. He’s got the best skills, the best brain. No one can match him. There isn’t a player of his mould anywhere in the world.”
On Beckham…“He [David Beckham] was never a problem until he got married. Getting married into that entertainment scene was a difficult thing – from that moment, his life was never going to be the same. He is such a big celebrity, football is only a small part.”
On calling it a day…“Retirement is for young people. I’m too old to retire. I would have nothing to do.”
On this season’s title race…“I’m up for a challenge. We’re not going away and I’m not either. You better let them [Manchester City] know across the road.”
On the wages in the modern game…“There are some players at other clubs who get paid enormous amounts of money and I don’t know why.”
What’s your favourite Ferguson quote?