Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Life Lessons I've Learnt From Sir Alex Ferguson

I must admit that I am no football fan, although I watch a few matches from time to time and I get a low down about what is happening in the football scene from my eldest son who is an absolute football lover. From the little I know, I can honestly say that I have learnt one of two things from Sir Alex Ferguson, the man dubbed, Britain's most successful football manager of all time.

In his time as manager of Manchester United, Ferguson won 38 trophies in 26 years. This includes his most successful year in 1999 when the club won three trophies all in the same year – the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League. In that year, they did the 'come back' against Bayern Munich when they were losing one nil and in the period of 5 minutes, scored 2 goals in the 90th minute which made them win the Champions League. This was probably the most important year for Sir Ferguson because he achieved 'the triple' which made him known worldwide as the manager of Manchester United. To date, no other Premier league team has achieved 'the triple' like Manchester United.

However, we only see the glory and indeed forget the story.

Key Lessons For Me 

Did you know that Ferguson grew up in a poor area of Glasgow? Yes, you may grow up in a poor area but that does not mean you have to remain there!

Did you know that he is not the longest serving manager in Europe or Britain? The longest serving league manager in Europe was Guy Roux, who managed the French team, Auxerre for 44 years; stepping down as manager in 2005. Ferguson is not even the longest serving British manager. Willie Maley was Celtic manager from 1897-1940; a total of 43 years!

Did you know that Ferguson once ran a pub? This great football maestro started out as an apprentice tool maker, then became a shop steward in Glasgow and much later ran a pub which he called Fergies. 

The greatest lesson, of all, for me is that when he took over managing Manchester United, the team did not win any trophies for almost four years. In football, that’s a lot of time!  Ferguson surely did have his challenges but he never gave up. 

As Dale Carnegie said in this quote, "most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all". 

Taking a closer look, Ferguson did have some help. Football by its very nature is not a one man show. Team effort is most certainly required! But Ferguson just kept on trying and going the extra mile with the support he received from his management, executive and football teams. 

My son specifically mentions to me, the Class of 92 (Phil Neville, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and Paul Scholes) who especially achieved 'the triple' under Sir Alex Ferguson. These men have become very successful and have gone on to own a football club, Salford City with the ambition to take the club into the Premier League within the next 15 years. These ex pro footballers truly respect and are inspired by Sir Alex Ferguson.  Even Manchester United's Executive Co-chairman Joel Glazer confirms that Ferguson’s “determination to succeed and dedication to the club were truly remarkable." 

These are the lessons I have learnt from Sir Alex Ferguson. Do you have any ones of your own to share? Leave a comment in the box below.

Radiance and Love,

Wumi Oyewole

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