Sir Alex Ferguson says Ryan Giggs would have been his successor at Manchester United had he retired earlier, while also insisting that appointing David Moyes was not a mistake.
Giggs was 39 when Ferguson retired in 2013, but he still played on under Moyes and later took over as caretaker manager after the former Everton boss was sacked in April 2014.
The Welshman hung up his boots at the end of that season and took up a backroom role under new manager Louis van Gaal.
But speaking in a BBC documentary set to be shown on Sunday, Ferguson said he would have liked a few years to groom Giggs himself.
“If Ryan Giggs had retired six or seven years ago — say he’d retired at 35, quite likely I’d have made him my assistant, and quite likely he could have moved right into the job, with the experience of being assistant manager to me, as he is helping Louis van Gaal at the moment,” Ferguson said.
“But I would never ask a player to quit.”
The comments came as a surprise to Giggs, who when told in the progamme said: “He said that?”
Moyes left Everton to take charge at Old Trafford following Ferguson’s retirement but lasted just 10 months before being sacked.
Ferguson, who recommended Moyes, recently suggested the former Everton boss had not been first choice but defended the process by which he was appointed.
Now he has gone further by saying Moyes was definitely the right choice at the time the decision was made.
“I don’t think we made a mistake at all,” Ferguson said. “I think we chose a good football man — [he] did a great job at Everton, had 11 years there. We picked the right man. Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.”
Ferguson touched on a number of other subjects in a documentary which examines the methods behind his phenomenally successful career and coincides with the release of his new book, “Leading.”
Ferguson felt Liverpool scored an own goal when they arrived at the 1996 FA Cup final, which they lost 1-0 to United, wearing cream suits.
The 73-year-old said: “Why did they do that? I said to [assistant] Brian Kidd, ‘1-0!’
“I think that’s — what would you call it? — arrogance or over-confidence? I don’t know. It was absolutely ridiculous. Blue shirt, red-and-white tie and a white suit, and a blue flower. Who designed that? They said it was Armani. I bet his sales went down!”
Ferguson’s success, which brought him 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League wins while at United, has also led to his expertise in man-management, motivational tactics and team-building being sought by others outside the game.
The programme says Ferguson was asked by former Prime Minister Tony Blair how to deal with “a particularly difficult member of his own team.”
Ferguson said: “I said to him, ‘You have to keep control.’ I didn’t know who he was talking about at the time. ‘You can’t lose it. You’re the Prime Minister, you have to have control.’”
Ferguson was then asked if he thought Blair might have been referring to Gordon Brown.
He said: “I didn’t know actually. I don’t think anyone knew until later on there was some sort of feeling between the two.”
Blair was himself interviewed for the programme and said: “We weren’t actually talking about an individual but a hypothetical case. But his attitude was, ‘It doesn’t matter if he is your best player, if he is difficult, put him out of the room.’”
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