Sir Alex Ferguson: Managing Manchester United Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Manager of Manchester United

Manchester United was founded in the year 1878. The club won its first title in 1908. The club performed extraordinarily well under the leadership of Matt Busby who was appointed after the Second World War. The incident where the seven players of United died in an aircraft crash at Munich brought a downfall to the club. However, Busby who was also injured severely managed to recover and brought the European Cup. Soon Busby left and the new manager Ron Atkinson was fired in a short period.

This was the time when Sir Alex Ferguson was appointed as the manager in 1986. Manchester United was the king club and Ferguson knew he had a huge task on his hands. The club was on all time low, the star players were not performing, the fitness was also a big concern for the club. At this time, Ferguson sold fans’ favorites McGrath and Whiteside and decided to invest in younger lot of players. Under his regime, Ferguson introduced intense fitness sessions, positional training and code of conduct. He was also the one who developed a family atmosphere at the club. He developed a sense of responsibility in each and every member of the club including the star players to the kit washers.

Sir Alex Ferguson established center of excellence to bring in the most talented players at the club. Ryan Giggs a legend today was a crop of the center of excellence. In only the second year, United finished second in the league. Sir Alex Ferguson was quite proactive in hiring players and was basically a risk taker. He paid a fee of $2.1 to purchase the Frenchstriker, Eric Cantona in 1993 who was seen as a troublemaker. It was Ferguson’s vision and charisma which turned the tables for Cantona who went on to win the league title for the club.

During the period of 1995 to 2001, Ferguson signed off senior players to invest on David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville who were young kids in that time. The decision paid off in the long run as the three of them went on to become superstars for the club and legends. Ferguson went to win the EPL title and the FAC Cup for five times out of six. The club went on to win the Champions League in the year 1999 with the young team which made Beckham as the star. In the year 2003, Ferguson sold Beckham to Real Madrid and invested on unproven youngsters such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

During the new era, United went on to win their second Champions League title beating Chelsea on penalties. Ronaldo went on to win the “Ballon d’Or”. Ferguson went on to become the longest serving manager for United serving 25 years until the 2011 season. It was because of his efforts and performance, the club executives named a stand after the manager.

Leadership Style of Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson is an inspirational leader. He has been quite sharp and has an eagle eye in identifying the talent. To his credit is the inclusion of young talents and making them superstars. He is strong with the communication skills and has been involved with the interaction with every player at the club. He has great skills of team building. Under his regime, Manchester United spotted young talents. He has the skills to bring the best out of each player. Along with this, he was a good business man also, the prime example would be that he bought Cristiano Ronaldo for 15 million Euro and sold him for a large sum of 94 million Euros. He is a charismatic leader where Ferguson changed the drinking habit of the players and eventually changed the culture of training and fitness. He is the one who brought in the specialist to improve the overall performance of the club. He is an honest person and knows each and everything of his players and members at the club.

Managing a Game

Ferguson has been quite proactive during the games. He concentrates on the major players of the opponent, such as the ones who are the most influential, who takes most of the free kicks, who is the one at the ball all the time and the one who motivates the players on the field. A part of Ferguson strategy is to select the team by Wednesday but he never revealed the team until the day of them game. The reason behind this move was to let the opponents guess the team, United will eventually be sent on the ground. He did not even tell the players until 1 O’ clock on the game day...........................................

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