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

Problem Statement

Fergusons calls them Manchester City as the “noisy neighbors”. The city’s new owners have spent a whole lot of amount on getting new players and to beat the United through the difference of a goal. How should Sir Alex react to this latest challenge and what measures he must take to regain the title back from United’s city rivals?What measures should Ferguson take to enhance the performance and the reliability of the brand as well as to compete with its competitors?


Sir Alex is called the greatest manager/coach in the history of the sport. Alex Ferguson served the club for 26 seasons before retiring on in May 2013 as the manager of Manchester Unitedand English football (soccer) club, which ranks as the most successful and valuable sports franchises. In his decorated career, the club has managed to win 25 domestic and international trophies and 13 English league titles.

Ferguson plays a role in United’s organization, which is more than a coach. Coaches usually work with the first team only however, Ferguson  managed the whole club. He not only interacted with the first team players, but also treated the staff and the grounds men, even the kit washer as a valuable part of Manchester United. Sir Alex has been continuously focusing on satisfying the fans of the team as well as to meet their expectations by the development of the club players.


The team is not performing well, and Ferguson has been hired as the manager of the club with no recent victories, no vision for the upcoming events and the environment of the dressing room is not as per the requirements of Ferguson. Sir Alex, by nature, is a risk-taker and likes things to be under his control;it is either his way or the highway. The fans of the club have a sense of ignorance from the club’s ownership and the administration. The club’s revenues are not in creasing and the investors are not happy about the progess of the team.

His principles led United towards its historical 26 season performance, which had some ups-and-downs however,he kept his cool and followed what he believed in and he turned out to be the most successful manager in football.

Managements Style

Sir Alex Ferguson has a transformation al leadership style, which requires high standard of communication from management to meet desired goals. He focuses on things in the long-run and motivates his team to achieve short-term successes.

 He developed 3 layers in which there were players who were above 30, and not younger than 23 in which the senior player will create standard and the younger ones would live up to them. Everything he did was to maintain the standards as a football club.

He led from the front He was the first one on the field and never let his players give up, hence, boosting their expectations when needed. He placed his trust in his team however,strongly believed that the control in the dressing room should not be with the players.The control must not be lost in the club as the manager must have control over his player that is what he always stood by and implemented.

He had cut the cords of many players who were not contributing positively in the dressing room’s atmosphere. Under his management,if there will be anyone with control,then it would be him. With his control, he did not lose the touch of humanity; he had control over the players but was not harsh to them. The messages he passed to the players were according to the situation. Alex Ferguson never criticized any player. The advice which was to be conveyed in those halftime breaks was chosen wisely and carefully.

Ferguson was restricted with his winning nature that he never wanted to loose, as he tried till the very last whistle and not gave in,which turned his defeats into victories.If he wasa goal behind and that there were5 minutes to the whistle, then he would change the nature of the game to attack mode and deploy attacking players knowing the risk of losing to a bigger margin however, hetried to convert every match into a victory.Sir Alex Ferguson Managing Manchester United Case Solution

His observational skills came into play when he used to give more time on the fields with the players noticing every slightest change in the habit of every player.

 When Ferguson was hired as the manager of the team, football was a different game back then as compared to now. Nowadays, football is not only a sport but commercial entity and it requires management from several other aspects than a player’s performance in the ground only. He adapted these changes in an excellent manner with time........................................................

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