پیش گفتارکتاب: زندگینامه من- الکس فرگوسن / فصل 1
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NEARLY three decades before this moment, I had walked through that tunnel and onto the pitch for my first home game, feeling nervous and exposed. I had waved to the Stretford End and been introduced from the centre circle as Manchester United’s new manager. Now, I strode onto the same pitch, full of confidence, to say goodbye.
The control I was able to exert over Manchester United was a privilege few managers will be lucky enough to know. However sure I felt of my abilities on the move south from Aberdeen in the autumn of 1986, there could have been no way of knowing it would turn out this well.
After the farewell in May 2013, the pivotal moments filled my thoughts: winning that FA Cup third-round tie against Nottingham Forest in January 1990, in which a Mark Robins goal sent us on our way to the final when my job was supposedly on the line; going through a whole month without winning a game, which gnawed away at my confidence.
Without the FA Cup victory over Crystal Palace nearly four years after my arrival, grave doubts would have been raised about my suitability for the job. We will never know how close I was to being sacked, because the decision was never forced on the United board. But without that triumph at Wembley, the crowds would have shrivelled. Disaffection might have swept the club.
Bobby Charlton would have opposed any move to dismiss me. He knew the work I was doing, the ground we were making up on the youth development side, the graft I was putting in, the hours I spent reforming the football operation. The chairman Martin Edwards knew it too, and it reflects well on those two men that they had the courage to stick by me in those dark days. Martin would have received plenty of angry letters demanding that I be cast aside.
Winning the 1990 FA Cup allowed us breathing space and deepened my sense that this was a wonderful club with which to win trophies. To win the FA Cup at Wembley made the good times roll. But on the morning after our victory, one newspaper declared: ‘OK, you’ve proved you can win the FA Cup, now go back to Scotland.’ I never forgot that.
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