|I'm in charge: Ferguson and Wayne Rooney did not always see eye to eye at Old Trafford|
Sir Alex Ferguson has lifted the lid on his no-nonsense approach towards player power and revealed that from the very beginning at Manchester United nobody would be stronger than he was. In a fascinating report for Harvard Business School that may go some way to explaining the reported deterioration in his relationship with star striker Wayne Rooney, Ferguson speaks openly about his management methods.
He said: 'Before I came to United, I told myself I wasn't going to allow anyone to be stronger than I was. Your personality has to be bigger than theirs. That is vital. 'There are occasions when you have to ask yourself whether certain players are affecting the dressing-room atmosphere, the performance of the team and your control of the players and staff. If they are, you have to cut the cord. There is absolutely no other way. It doesn't matter if the person is the best player in the world.'
In 2011, Harvard professors visited Manchester to interview Ferguson at length on his managerial methods and philosophies, before the former United boss travelled to Boston in 2012 to provide students with a first-hand insight into his techniques. This study ran alongside the unravelling of his working relationship with Rooney, who became disgruntled towards the end of last season after he was regularly substituted and often asked to play out of position, either in central midfield or on the wing.
|Grew apart: Ferguson and Roy Keane had a working relationship over 12 years before the midfielder's exit|
A drawn-out summer saga followed, with Rooney attempting to engineer a move to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, only for new United manager David Moyes to insist that the England forward must remain at Old Trafford. The suspicion has always been that Ferguson never truly forgave Rooney for handing in a transfer request in October 2010, with the forward citing United's failure to recruit high-quality players as his reason for demanding a move.
|Where it all began: David Beckham (centre) burst on to the scene under Ferguson at Old Trafford|
Manager and player did patch up their differences - temporarily at least - as Rooney signed a new five-year contract after an impassioned public plea from Ferguson. And, in new quotes that may also reveal why Roy Keane was allowed to leave the club in 2005 after criticism of his team-mates on MUTV, Ferguson has revealed how he didn't waste time.
The Scot added: 'I tended to act quickly when I saw a player become a negative influence. Some might say I acted impulsively, but I think it was critical that I made up my mind quickly. Why should I have gone to bed with doubts? It's not about looking for adversity or for opportunities to prove power; it's about having control and being authoritative when issues do arise.'
Former United captain Keane left in November 2005 by mutual consent, bringing a sudden end to his 12-year association with the club. One of Ferguson's most loyal servants had become too outspoken, and his outburst on the club's own television station - which was never shown - came after a 4-1 defeat by Middlesbrough.
Ferguson's words may also bring David Beckham to mind, the former England captain was sold to Real Madrid in 2003 and it is suspected the Glaswegian saw the player's celebrity fame as an overbearing influence at Old Trafford