Pep and Fergie as one as City emulate United’s treble success 

by Gazette Reporter
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I was in Barcelona in 1999 when United completed the third leg with two late goals against Bayern Munich so I know the exhilaration the City fans are feeling at the moment.

What good is a love for sport if you can’t sometimes salute the deeds of an opponent. So as a long-term Man U fan, I have to (albeit a little grudgingly) congratulate Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City squad on completing the treble in Istanbul on Saturday by beating Inter Milan 1-0.

Winning wasn’t easy and Inter went all out for a goal to equalise Rodrigo’s strike but in the end, the better team won. That was the same in the FA Cup final where City bossed the 2-1 win over United and also in the league, where they came with a powerful late run to leave Arsenal in their slipstream by the end of the season.

If I’m truthful, this is something City have been threatening for a few years now and I had kinda made up my mind over a month ago that they would do it once they hit that purple patch of form in the league run-in.

They have the best first X1 on any given day and maybe their second X1 is as good if not better than any of the other Premier League teams as well. They are a rich club who have bought the best stars available and the only cloud on their horizon now is the FA inquiry into their financial affairs.  

There are something like 115 charges and I don’t know if they will be dropped or pursued but the one thing I do know is that City played great football all season and they deserve their treble for what they did on the pitch.

I was in Barcelona in 1999 when United completed the third leg with two late goals against Bayern Munich so I know the exhilaration the City fans are feeling at the moment.

By the way I thought it was class that Alex Ferguson texted Pep on Saturday morning to wish him well as he tried to emulate the Scot’s achievement; Pep went out of his way to mention it afterwards which shows you the  regard in which he holds the former Old Trafford boss.

Alex has been a great friend to many managers over the years and in fact tried to engineer Pep going to the red side of Manchester when they met for dinner in New York after Pep had left Barcelona and was on his sabbatical.

What you mightn’t know is that Fergie was also good friends with Jurgen Klopp before he arrived at Anfield. He had urged him after he left Dortmund to take a job in England.

 Klopp later met him for a coffee and told him he was approached and Fergie took off his United cap to offer him person to person advice about how he was suited to the Liverpool position. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Alex told me a lovely story when I met him a while ago about Klopp’s first day at Anfield when he assembled all the staff – playing, cleaning, maintenance, office etc out into the one space.

He then asked every one of the players if they could name certain non-playing faces. 

Most said they recognised the people but couldn’t put a name on them.

The new manager then gave all the so-called stars a week to learn all the names with a threat that they would be fined a week’s wages if they failed subsequent tests he would set for them.

That is something Fergie himself had done with  his United players some 35 years earlier and something he himself always insisted was the cornerstone of creating a proper environment at a club. 

In his eyes, as in Klopp’s, everyone had to be equally cherished and made feel part of what they were trying to build. 

From the evidence of both bosses, it is a method that works but also endears you to the human side of  these top class managers and what they live by and expect their players to adhere to as well.


Dublin Gazette – Digital Edition – June 15, 2023 – Dublin Gazette Newspapers – Dublin News, Sport and Lifestyle

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