Sir Alex Ferguson's Autocratic Style

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In the dramatic world of football where passions run wild and tempers run high, it comes as no surprise that even managers themselves may find themselves heatedly caught up in the game and Sir Alex Ferguson is no exception to this rule. Known for his blistering temper, Ferguson is an unyielding disciplinarian unafraid to criticize his players and admonish them, should they perform badly. Indeed, his temper is so renowned that the term “hair-dryer treatment” was coined in an article by The Guardian; a reference to the scoldings he gave his players in the dressing room where the force of Ferguson’s yelling was likened to the explosive hot air from hair-dryers. Ferguson’s fiery temperament is unparalleled- football fans from all around the…show more content…
This controlling aspect of his leadership is in part due to Ferguson’s task-oriented habit of initiating structure. In a leadership behavior model, initiating structure deals with how a leader “defines and organizes his role and the roles of followers, is oriented toward goal attainment, and establishes well-defined patterns and channels of communication”. Ferguson’s way of defining his role and the role of his players in the club is clearly highlighted in an interview with The Daily Mail when he plainly stated that “the most important man in the [football] club is the manager”. Indeed, Ferguson’s focus on maintaining hierarchy and initiating structure was greatly exemplified by his removal of David Beckham from Manchester United in 2003. Despite being one of the world’s most illustrious football players at the time, Beckham found himself unceremoniously booted out of United following a dressing-room disagreement after United’s loss to Arsenal. Beckham had already cemented his position as an international football celebrity by then and it was this, coupled with Beckham’s marriage to Victoria Posh , which led to the duo’s disagreements. Ferguson decried Beckham’s rising celebrity status, claiming it caused his ego to inflate as Beckham could not accept Ferguson’s criticisms. In his autobiography, Ferguson revealed that “David [Beckham] thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson” and said that “The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager he had to go. Authority is what counts” , illustrating his iron grip on autocracy and his high level of power in the club. It is obvious that Ferguson expects all Manchester United players to unquestioningly follow his every instruction whether they want to or not, as evident in his decree that United players below 23 were not allowed to accept a Chevrolet despite the automobile company being their sponsor.
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