May 14, 2013
After 26 years in charge of one of the most successful clubs in Europe, Sir Alex Ferguson recently announced his retirement from the role of Manchester United Manager at the ripe old age of 71. Whether you’re a fan or not you have to admire his achievements in the role. But while we’d be happy to provide the acts for Sir Alex’s retirement party that’s not what we’ll be discussing in today’s blog.
Instead, we’ll be focussing on speakers. With Sir Alex recently being tapped by Harvard Business School to speak on leadership, more and more businesses are looking for things they can learn from the most successful British manager in football. So with his final game in charge of United fast approaching, we’re offering up our Top 5 speakers who can shed some light of the phenomenal success that Sir Alex has achieved over the course of his career.
Andy Gray and Richard Keys
The Premiership era has, it’s fair to say, been dominated by United and Ferguson and since the League’s creation in the early 90s Andy Gray and Richard Keys have had front row seats to the many pivotal moments in the competition. From Ferguson and Brian Kidd’s awkward victory dance to Kevin Keegan’s “I would love it” meltdown, Gray and Keys have provided analysis on some of the most memorable moments of Ferguson’s managerial career. But more importantly, they have watched as Ferguson adapted to survive in the changing football landscape brought on by Sky and the Premier League.
Sports psychologist Steve Bull has used his experience with athletes at national and international levels to inform his highly in-demand business coaching. His book The Game Plan examines ‘mental toughness’ through sporting anecdotes and shows how companies can harness this toughness to succeed in business. Steve also runs ‘talking head sessions’ at events in which he interviews former athletes around a set of themes – like, say the benefits of hairdryers in dressing rooms.
Throughout Sir Alex’s managerial career, he’s been accused of terrorising not just players, but officials as well. One referee who’s had plenty of experience in dealing with the fiery Scott is Graham Poll, who has overseen 57 United games in his career. Consequently, few speakers have as much experience dealing with the fearsome figure, tapping his watch on the touchlines or lingering in the tunnel for a half time ‘chat’. Poll has shared his thoughts on Ferguson’s relationship with referees in his Daily Mail Column and even revealed a softer side to the normally stern Scotsman following Poll’s hellacious experience in the 2006 World Cup.
Ferguson’s working class upbringing in Govan galvanised his political beliefs and he has long been a staunch Labour supporter with a keen interest in politics, so it’s natural that he’d have a lot in common with broadcaster, political aide and football fanatic, Alastair Campbell. Having first met while Campbell was interviewing Ferguson for the Labour Party News, the pair have been close friends for many years Ferguson even offered a few words of encouragement before the 1997 election “Let them [the Tories] come after you more and watch them make mistakes and then punish them for it. Don’t be taking risks.”
With highly successful spells at Millwall, Nottingham Forest and Spurs, Edward Paul “Teddy” Sheringham was already an established goalscorer before he arrived at Manchester United in 1997 but importantly, hadn’t won a single trophy. That soon changed with Sheringham playing a crucial role in United’s Treble winning season of 1998/1999, scoring late goals in both the FA Cup Final and the Champions League final. As a key player in Ferguson’s most successful side, no one has a better insight into what it was like to play under Sir Alex during arguably his finest season as a manager.
To see more of the speakers we have available for corporate events, head over to our speaker section of the website. And if you’re interested in booking a speaker for a corporate event, get in touch via our contact page.