SIR ALEX FERGUSON was renowned for his ‘hairdryer’ blasts at his players.
His old Manchester United skipper Bryan Robson managed to dodge it — apart from once…
Captain Marvel, now 64, recalls: “We were playing up at Newcastle and it was going badly, we were losing 1-0 and Gazza was running us ragged.
“We didn’t really know much about Gazza back then, but we certainly found out quickly when he was having such a good game against us.
“I could see what was coming at half-time, so I thought it best to get in first.
“I said, ‘Yeah, we didn’t know much about him — I will try to get it sorted in the second half’.
“Fergie screamed at me, ‘Get it sorted!’ — so I got it sorted in the second half.
“It was definitely a hairdryer moment but more half a hairdryer.
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“I had seen much worse — and you definitely don’t want to be on the receiving end of the full hairdryer!
“I still see quite a bit of ‘The Gaffer’. I am sure he misses being in the dug-out but I know he is enjoying his retirement.”
Neil Webb, now 58, played under Brian Clough but says that was nothing compared to his time under Ferguson.
His main fallout centred around his England call-up under Three Lions manager Graham Taylor for a game against Czechoslovakia in 1992.
The Euros were coming up but the Red Devils were top and Fergie wanted to keep his players fresh. United took on Wimbledon prior to the midweek England game.
And Webb says: “I was substituted in that game… our physio Jim McGregor came and told me, ‘By the way, you are injured, and you are not going with England’.
“I told him, ‘No, I’m not injured’ and Jim said, ‘The Gaffer is not letting you go to report for England duty’.
“By the time I got home there was a message from Graham Taylor to call him back urgently.
“I called and said I wasn’t injured and wanted to report for England.
“He told me, ‘The club have told me you are injured, so you have a decision to make — if I don’t see you, then you will be jeopardising your England career’.
“I’d been put into a ridiculous position. Do I let down England? Or my manager and club?”
Webb continued: “I didn’t want to fall out with my manager. So didn’t report for England.
“Yet, when I turned up at United on Monday morning, I trained.
“The manager didn’t care who would see me train, even though it proved I wasn’t injured.
“That week, he called me to his office and as I walked in the door a pen went past my head!
“He lurched straight into, ‘What do you think you are doing? You rang Graham Taylor…’
“I told him, ‘I rang him because he left a message to call him, and yes I told him the truth — and you having me training shows I wasn’t injured’.
“He now lost it, and in his thick Scottish accent I got it full barrels, and some of the words were pretty choice.
“He went into full rant mode. That was my first and certainly my major fall out with him.
“I thought Cloughie was a law unto himself, but this one was off the wall.”
*Harry Harris’ book Sir Alex: Simply the Best published by Ad Lib is available in paperback for £8.99.
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