Sir Alex Ferguson reveals truth about infamous 'hairdryer treatment' at Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson has a reputation for being one of the most fearsome managers in football history, with his red cheeks, grumpy expression and stubborn nature all adding to his aura.

But remarkably the Scot says he didn’t rule by fear at Manchester United, and claims he only used his hairdryer treatment six times in his 27 years in the Old Trafford dugout.

The 74-year-old was known for delivering verbal volleys at his players so intense they earned the hairdryer nickname, with Wayne Rooney saying in his book there was “nothing worse” to experience.

Rooney has obviously forgotten his own painful World Cup 2010 performances, while Ferguson insists he rarely used his full force during his reign and only exploded when his players dared to talk back.

“There was a lot of myth about it. It happened about half a dozen times in 27 years and the players will tell you that,” Ferguson said at the World Business Forum in Milan in quotes reported by the Sun.

“The problem for me was if a player answered me back, I headed towards them. That was my problem,” continued the two-time Champions League winner.

“Jock Stein always said to me, ‘Leave it until Monday to talk to them’, but I said I couldn’t wait until Monday. So, on a Saturday after the game, I told them exactly how I felt, because we had trained at a level all week that I expected to win every game.

“I told them exactly the truth and the truth works. All the players understood that and it was never held against me. Then the next day it is pushed aside and I’m prepared to win again. I never ruled by fear.

“Name a Manchester United team that played with fear. My job was to get a positive attitude into that team, for them to express themselves, never give in and enjoy playing for the club. That is sacrosanct.”

In case you’re wondering, six hairdryer treatments during his time at Old Trafford is an average of once every four-and-a-bit years, which we very much struggle to believe.

More in this Section

A first real sign Arteta's methods sinking in at ArsenalA first real sign Arteta's methods sinking in at Arsenal

Daniel Storey: Solskjaer has released the United handbrakeDaniel Storey: Solskjaer has released the United handbrake

Patience is key for Mane as Liverpool eventually find spark at Aston VillaPatience is key for Mane as Liverpool eventually find spark at Aston Villa

Michael Moynihan: 30 reasons why 1990 is the nostalgia defaultMichael Moynihan: 30 reasons why 1990 is the nostalgia default


On June 26, we sat outside the first bar to open here since lockdown began on March 15. There are only two bars in the valley. Cafes serve drinks, but these are bar-bars, the kind that stay open after midnight.Damien Enright: Fruit trees are laden with their bounty as we prepare to leave

In October 1986, 52 mute swans, living peacefully on the Tolka in Dublin, were drenched in diesel oil accidentally released into the river. Swan-catchers went into action; only one bird died before they reached it.Richard Collins: Human crisis will offer chance for wild animal research

It's a typically Irish summer’s day of sunshine and occasional showers. Travel restrictions have been eased again and we venture forth to one of nature’s gems, Gougane Barra, deep in the mountains of West Cork.Donal Hickey: Gougane Barra has peace and wildness

When the ferryman pulls away from the pier and the salty spray of the sea hits your face the feeling of release from the mainland is deeply pleasurable. Your island awaits. Whether for a day trip or a holiday, the lure of the islands is as magnetic as ever.The Islands of Ireland: The lure of the less-visited

More From The Irish Examiner