Ferguson’s 5 most fierce hairdryer outbursts – including time he made player cry

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Saturday marks the 35th anniversary of Manchester United’s appointment of Sir Alex Ferguson as their manager, replacing the outgoing Ron Atkinson.

After a challenging start to his time at Old Trafford, Ferguson would go on to become the Premier League’s greatest ever manager.

He won 13 league titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions Leagues during his 27 years in charge of the Red Devils.

But aside from the trophies, arguably the most famous element of his managerial style were the infamous hairdryer riot acts that he gave to underperforming players.

Here, Daily Star Sport looks at five of the fiercest hairdryers that Ferguson handed out at United…

David Beckham, February 2003

Arguably the most famous hairdryer was given to David Beckham following United’s defeat to Arsenal in the fifth round of the FA Cup in February 2003.

United had lost 2-0 at home to the Gunners and it was Beckham’s commitment amid links with Real Madrid that saw Ferguson kick a boot at the England winger.

“He was about 12 feet from me. Between us lay a row of boots. David swore. I moved towards him, and as I approached I kicked a boot,” Ferguson wrote in his autobiography.

“It hit him right above the eye. Of course he rose to have a go at me and the players stopped him. ‘Sit down,’ I said. ‘You've let your team down. You can argue as much as you like’.

“The next day the story was in the press. In public an Alice band highlighted the damage inflicted by the boot. It was in those days that I told the board David had to go.”

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Louis Saha and Wayne Rooney, November 2006

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A defeat to Celtic in the Champions League group stages sent Ferguson mad at striker Louis Saha.

Saha fluffed a golden chance to score when he thought he was offside before seeing a last-minute penalty saved by Celtic keeper Artur Boruc

But Saha was not the only one to get lambasted by Ferguson in the dressing room, with Wayne Rooney also falling foul of the Scot.

"It’s the worst hairdryer I’ve seen. He’s in Louis’ face, shouting and screaming. But Louis isn’t the only one getting an earful,” Rooney wrote in his autobiography.

“The manager knows I’ve been negotiating a new deal with the club and he saves some for me.

“‘Players wanting more money from the club and new deals… you don’t deserve anything after that performance!’”


Gary Pallister, Paul Ince and Lee Sharpe, January 1995

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The night of Eric Cantona’s infamous kung-fu kick at Crystal Palace ended with Ferguson berating the rest of United’s team following a 1-1 draw.

Many of the United squad expected Cantona to be given the hairdryer after he launched himself into the stand, but according to Lee Sharpe, it was the rest of the team who Ferguson was mad at.

“The manager comes in and he's absolutely fuming. The door smashes off the back of its hinges. The jacket is off, he's got the shirt sleeves rolled up; steam coming out of his ears and frothing at the mouth,” Sharpe said later.

“There's benches in the middle of the room with shirts and balls to be signed. Cups of tea and plates of sandwiches. They're sent f**king flying everywhere.

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“We're getting scalded and getting egg sandwiches down the back of our necks. We look at each other, thinking: ‘F***ing hell, Cantona is getting it here’.

“And then he starts, the manager. 'F***ing Pallister, you can't head anything, you can't tackle. Incey, where the f*** have you been?’

“‘Sharpey, my grandmother runs f***ing faster than you! You're all a f***ing disgrace. Nine o'clock tomorrow morning, I'm going to run your f***ing balls off in training’.

“‘And Eric… [in a softer tone] you can't go round doing things like that son.’”

Paul Ince, April 1993

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Paul Ince had an infamous run-in with Ferguson following a comfortable away win at Norwich, with the United boss stamping down his authority.

“We got to the 92nd minute and I've got the ball in the middle of the park, I looked up and didn't see anything, so I went on a mazy run, beat one, a little step over and beat two but then lost the next one,” Ince has since told talkSPORT.

“They went back down the pitch and nearly scored. Ferguson comes in [to the changing room] and goes absolutely ballistic at me saying: ‘Who do you think you are? You ain't no Maradona or Pele.’

“I said: Gaffer, what are you on about?’ He said: ‘You've lost the ball in the 92nd minute and they could have scored.’

“I said: ‘But they didn't gaffer and we won 3-1.’ He starts coming up to me in my face and I'm thinking: ‘I'm not having this’.

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“So I stand up, we are face to face, and he is shouting and as he is shouting I've got spit going in my eye. Brian Kidd stepped in between the two of us and we didn't speak for five days.

“We played head tennis on the Thursday and he was the referee. It gets to 9-9, [Steve Bruce] heads the ball up in the air and I do an overhead kick, it hits the line to win the game. Sir Alex goes: ‘Out.’

“Because we weren't speaking at the time I could not say anything. I looked at him, he said: ‘Out, game over, they won.’

“As I walked away he said: ‘There's only one Guvnor around here, Incey, and it ain't you.’”

Tomasz Kuszczak, November 2010

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A 4-0 drubbing at the hands of West Ham in the League Cup saw Ferguson bring United keeper Tomasz Kuszczak to tears.

The Hammers were bottom of the Premier League at the time and the United boss did not hold back in the dressing room.

“He walked into the dressing room and just started shouting at me. Every swear word you could think of, he was throwing at me,” Kuszack said.

“I was sitting there, calmly, thinking ‘I did nothing wrong in this game’. There weren't any goals I was particularly at fault for, so I couldn't blame myself.

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“If I made a mistake I'd always hold my hands up, so on this occasion I couldn't understand why he was going for me.

“He kept shouting at me and I started to get angry, so I decided to respond. I thought I'd give it back to him the same way he gave it to me.

“I stood up and started to shout at him, and then I see Ryan Giggs standing right behind the boss, and I look into his eyes, he's shaking his head at me.

“I could see he was thinking ‘don't do it – sit down!’. I sat down, everyone in the dressing room was nervous, I was nervous, there were tears in my eyes.”

  • Premier League
  • Sir Alex Ferguson
  • Manchester United FC

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