Fergie's Firsts: Sir Alex Ferguson walked through the doors at Old Trafford 26 years ago today
12:45 GMT, 6 November 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson, arguably the greatest British football manager of all time, walked through the doors at Old Trafford 26 years ago today.
The job of managing United in 1986 was huge – they were a sleeping giant and his tenure began with a humiliating defeat at Oxford's Manor Ground. From humble beginnings and all that…
Here Sportsmail recalls Fergie's firsts…
Humble beginnings: 26 years ago this week, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson (second right) watches his new team for the first time as they crash to a 2-0 defeat at Oxford United's Manor Ground
HIS FIRST GAME…
Manchester United slipped to a 2-0 defeat
at the old Manor Ground against a side who were to drop out of the
Football League during Ferguson’s 26 years at Old Trafford.
were 13,545 for the game on November 8, 1986, two days after Ferguson (right)
had taken over from Ron Atkinson. Future Liverpool striker John Aldridge
scored a penalty for the home side and Neil Slatter added the second.
Ferguson was later to describe how he was shocked at the fitness levels of the United players.
But then maybe it was no surprise that his team fell to defeat at Oxford.
revealed in his autobiography that a number of his new charges had been
drinking heavily at Atkinson’s leaving do the night before his arrival
in Manchester and he was in no mood to accept excuses after the Oxford
He called them in for extra gym training on the Monday morning
and told the players he would `put an end to Manchester United’s
reputation as a social club rather than a football club’.
It was also
the beginning of the end for Paul McGrath at United. Ferguson was so
unimpressed by his midfield performance that he took him off, claiming
later his lifestyle meant he did not have the stamina for a midfield
berth in his team.
Oxford: Parks, Langan, Slatter, Phillips, Briggs, Shotton, Houghton, Aldridge, Leworthy, Trewick & Brock.
Manchester United: Turner, Duxbury, Albiston, Moran, McGrath, Hogg, Blackmore, Moses, Stapleton, Davenport, Barnes.
Humble beginnings: Fergie's first match… United's Paul McGrath (left) heads clear during the 2-0 defeat at Oxford in 1986
HIS FIRST WIN…
Ferguson had to wait three games for his first success as United boss.
November 22, 1986, United beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0 at Old Trafford, thanks to a thumping free-kick from Danish defender John Sivebaek.
HIS FIRST GOAL…
United had gone 213 scoreless minutes – and 16 days – before Sivebaek finally broke the deadlock at Old Trafford to secure that first win.
But it was a fleeting moment of glory for the Denmark international who was sold to St Etienne by Ferguson the following summer after just 31 games for United. He was eventually replaced at right-back by Viv Anderson.
`I don’t remember much about the goal except that it was a free-kick 20 yards out,’ said the Dane. “I hit it hard but bent it a bit like Beckham as well.
`It was a big goal because it gave Sir Alex his first win at Manchester United and it was also big for me because I didn’t score many.’
Looking glum: Life at United began poorly for
Ferguson (left, in the stands at Oxford) but things began looking up
after John Sivebaek (right) scored the first goal of Fergie's tenure
Here we go: Ferguson (arms folded) takes first-team training during his first week as United boss in November 1986
Still smiling: Ferguson (right) shares a joke with first-team coach Rene Meulensteen at carrington today
SIR ALEX BY NUMBERS
37 Major trophies (12 Premier League titles, 2 Champions League wins, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups)
3 Trophies in the 1998-99 treble
45 United's longest unbeaten run in all competitions under Ferguson
9-0 Manchester United's biggest win under Ferguson, against Ipswich Town at Old Trafford in 1995
6-1 Ferguson's heaviest defeat, last season at home to Manchester City
26 Years Manchester United were waiting for a league title before Ferguson's first in 1993
3 “Years of excuses and it's still crap … TA RA FERGIE”, a banner seen at Old Trafford in December 1989
30.75m Paid to Tottenham Hotspur for the services of Dimitar Berbatov in 2008, a club record fee
80m Received from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo, a world record.
625,000 Spent on Denis Irwin, regarded by Ferguson as his greatest signing 'pound for pound'
60,000 Ferguson's estimated annual salary when he joined in 1986
5m His current annual salary
7 Years without giving interviews to the BBC after a controversial Panorama investigation into his son Jason
14 The number of managers to have occupied the Manchester City dugout while Ferguson has been at United
17 Games missed by Ferguson due to touchline bans
HIS FIRST AWAY WIN…
Where else but Anfield
United only picked up one away win all that first season under Ferguson and actually managed to achieve the double and it was Liverpool’s only home defeat at Anfield that season.
Norman Whiteside scored United’s winner to help United to their third win in his first eight games in charge – hardly a resounding start.
It would take Ferguson a few years to knock Liverpool off their perch, and they finished 11th that season, but it was a good start.
HIS FIRST SIGNING…
Viv Anderson was signed from Arsenal for just 250,000 in a deal finalised at tribunal.
The England international was to play a significant role in Ferguson’s new-look United and quickly established himself as first-choice right-back.
He played more than 50 games for the club until Ferguson signed Denis Irwin from Oldham for just 625,000 and he took over from Anderson, who moved on to Sheffield Wednesday.
Ferguson said: `Viv’s resolute professionalism at right-back and bubbly, contagious enthusiasm in the dressing room were worth a lot more than the 250,000 we paid Arsenal.
`Viv, a man I am always happy to see, was prevented by injury from being as valuable to us as he should have been.’
Anderson won the 1990 FA Cup at Manchester United, followed by the Charity Shield at the start of the next season, his only silverware at Old Trafford.
First recruit: Viv Anderson signs for Ferguson at old Trafford
Manchester United needed a replay to see off Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final and pick up Ferguson’s first trophy.
The first game finished 3-3 and Palace, who had stunned Liverpool to reach Wembley, had the audacity to take the lead through Gary O’Reilly after just 17 minutes when he headed in via Gary Pallister’s head.
The United equaliser also came from a deflection, with John Pemberton getting the final touch to a Bryan Robson effort before half-time. Mark Hughes then put Ferguson’s side in front just after the hour before Palace boss Steve Coppell threw on Ian Wright whose mazy run within three minutes of his introduction finished with the goal to take the game into extra-time.
Life and times: Ferguson with his newly
installed assistant Archie Know in 1986 (left) and posing up (right)
before his first official press conference at Old Trafford 26 years ago
Old school: Ferguson's desk at United HQ remained a rustic affair
And it was the electric Wright who put Palace ahead two minutes after the re-start, seizing on Jim Leighton’s hesitancy dealing with a John Salako cross, before Mark Hughes calmly slotted home seven minutes from the end of extra-time to take the final to a replay.
Ferguson bravely, and controversially, dropped Leighton for the replay five days later and the Scotland international keeper never played for United again.
His place went to the late Les Sealey who made three crucial saves in a largely uneventful match.
The winner came from defender Lee Martin who chested down a Neil Webb pass just before the hour and shot high into the net past Nigel Martyn. Captain Bryan Robson lifted his manager’s first trophy.
Sealey was the only change from the first game, the outfield players were Phelan, Bruce, Pallister, Martin, Webb, Ince, Robson, Wallace, McClair, Hughes.
The Palace side was unchanged for the two games, was the last all-English team to play in the FA Cup Final and included Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew. Martyn, Pemberton, O’Reilly, Thorn, Shaw, Barber, Gray, Thomas, Pardew, Salako, Bright.