Rise, Sir Alex!

IT was sometime in the early 1990s, Manchester United were at home to West Ham and I was covering the game for the Hammers News magazine.

Glancing over my shoulder, I caught sight of United’s manager Alex Ferguson standing proud inside the finest football club stadium in the country.

The image could have generated a 1,000 headlines as “the last man standing”. It was just one single shot of probably the most famous football manager in the world standing head and shoulders above everyone at Old Trafford.

In 1999 Alex Ferguson was knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours. The title Sir Alex seems so fitting for a manager who, for Manchester United, won 38 trophies including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two UEFA Champions League titles.

It was at West Ham on the last game of the season of 1994-1995 when I witnessed a very different look on the face of Sir Alex. Manchester United had just lost the Premier League title to Blackburn Rovers, they needed a win at West Ham but the game ended at 1-1.

At half time I remember seeing the Premier trophy on a plinth with Manchester United’s colours attached. It was all set to be presented to United if they had won the league but it didn’t happen and, at the end of the match, the trophy was no longer on the plinth and the look of disappointment on the face of Alex Ferguson as he was interviewed by TV was as memorable as his stand alone photograph.

One thing learnt that day, there is a duplicate Premier League Trophy and that day the other one was at Blackburn Rovers.

Woodmead Halls

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