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


Since the appointment of Sir Alex Ferguson as the manager of the Manchester United Football Club, the club had regained their lost fortune from being at the lowest point ever in the club game. The new manager turned out to be a game changer while revising the club’s core strategies and focusing on long-term vision in retaining as the world’s most decorated football club in the history of British football. In his tenure, development of the club’s youth player, building the club as a priority instead of just focusing on the team, and to bring out the best in players reflected a brighter vision which ultimately resulted in high prized victories over the years.

The paper attempts to provide the problem statement for the case along with the detailed analysis of Sir Alex Ferguson’s career as a player and as well as his career as a coach. The paper also attempts to discuss the leadership style adopted by Sir Alex Ferguson while managing the game, season, and the club for Manchester United. Furthermore, the paper aims to elaborate the internal analysis for Sir Alex Ferguson through the application of SWOT analysis, while understanding the competitive environment through competitors’ analysis. Moreover, the paper aims to illustrate the three alternatives provided to lead Manchester United to another victory along with their advantages and disadvantages. Lastly, the paper provides recommendations through the selection of an alternative and elaborates the action plan along with a brief conclusion of the entire paper.

Problem Statement

As Sir Alex Ferguson prepared for a record-setting 26th appearance as the manager of Manchester United Football Club for 2012-2013 seasons, he faced a quest against the club’s newest rival Manchester City. The noisy neighbors, Manchester City brought significant changes in their internal structures which had resulted them the league title in the season 2011-2012 after decades. Therefore, Sir Alex Ferguson faced a challenge of leading his team towards another victory and ended his successful run as the manager of the most decorated professional football club.

Background Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson was born in the year 1941 on December 31st in the city of Govan from Glasgow which is the largest city of Scotland. Ferguson belonged to a working class family where he worked in the ship building industry. Ferguson since the very early age had a fond passion and love for football. Alex along with his brother Martin played football on the streets of Glasgow. During his early part, Ferguson supported Celtic FC. Alex was supported by his father and showed keen interest in the development of his game.

Career as a player

Alex Ferguson made his debut for a Scottish club Queen’s Park when he was just 16. He played as a striker for the club. Despite being an effective player he did not succeed as he had arguments with the team management. However, strong performance made him transfer to Dunfermline Athletic where he performed extraordinarily well. This performance made him transfer to Rangers, his dream team since childhood. However, the stay was short term because he had fallen out with the manager. He soon finished his playing career with Falkirk and Ayr United. The career of Alex Ferguson as a player was not a very good one and he could not reach the echelons of the game despite being a talented striker.

Career as a Manager

Ferguson started his career as a manager at the age of 32 with East Stirlingshire FC. The initial salary for Ferguson was a mere $95 per week. Soon he joined a larger club, St. Mirren FC where he stayed for a period of four years. During his tenure at the club, Ferguson won the Scottish Premier Division. However, a fight with the club chairman led to Ferguson getting fired. However, soon Aberdeen FC a Scottish club hired the services of Ferguson, which was the most successful period for the club. During his stay as a manager, Aberdeen won three Premier Divisions, four Scottish FA Cups, one Scottish League Cup and also won the European Cup. He won against the giants of Europe Bayern Munich and Real Madrid with a young team. This accomplishment of Ferguson made him being appointed as the Ordered of the British Empire (OBE)...................................

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Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager in the history of British football, preparing for the season 2012-2013, the twenty-sixth of his record as a manager of one of the most decorated in the world of professional football clubs and one of the biggest sports franchises. Over the years, Ferguson has to overcome several major contenders for United. The latest contender can be found closer to home: from Manchester City, Manchester United "noisy neighbors", the owners moved the club has invested unprecedented amounts of money in new players, making his first league title in decades. As Ferguson lead his team to another victory and bring the next chapter in the glorious history of the United to a successful conclusion? "Hide
by Anita Elberse, Thomas paint Source: Harvard Business School 25 pages. Publication Date: September 20, 2012. Prod. #: 513051-PDF-ENG

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