Ashley Young has revealed how Manchester United players had to call Sir Alex Ferguson, and they certainly weren’t allowed to call him ‘Fergie’.
Shedding a nickname when it’s not one you particularly want to call it can be extremely difficult, unless you’re the greatest manager in Premier League history.
Legendary United boss Ferguson may have mellowed in the final years of his career, and no doubt the 10 years since his retirement, but for most of his career he was known to be quite scary.
Despite this harsh way of managing his teams, most of his former players speak highly and with the utmost respect for their former boss.
And it’s perhaps no surprise to learn that they never called him by the nickname “Fergie,” and still can’t bring themselves to do so years later.
In an interview with the Telegraph, the former United Young captain had a list of managers he had worked with read to him, with newspaper reporter Sam Wallace naming ‘Fergie’ on it.
“You can’t say ‘Fergie’ either,” Young replied with a smile.
“It’s not allowed. It’s ‘The Boss’. Just so you know!”
Young was only at Old Trafford for Ferguson’s final two years at the club, winning his last league title almost 10 years ago.
He ended up spending nine seasons at the club, playing 261 times for them and managing through a host of bosses after the former Aberdeen boss hung up his gum.
The Aston Villa man revealed he still speaks to the 81-year-old and his former manager wasn’t too impressed with modern football, adding: “I won’t say the best [manager he’s had] but the one that brought me the most is ‘The Boss’. Mr Alex.
“The one I talk to the most is ‘The Boss’. I had a conversation with him a few months ago and he was talking about the changes in football and how he would be in football these days.
“I won’t enter into the conversation… I don’t know if he’s impressed with some of the changes.
“But the way ‘The Boss’ has been for years, the success he’s had – he had his way of dealing with players, dealing with the press, whatever else.
“How he had set up his team. How he knew his team – weeks, months, in advance. The way he was with the players. I’m not sure how that would be seen these days. “
Ferguson is often seen at Old Trafford these days, watching the games from the directors’ box, and life must be much better as a supporter than it has been for much of the previous decade since his retreat.
Holden is a long-time United season ticket holder, and only five games into his new job, and has been hugely impressed with his fellow manager.