What could've been if Sir Alex Ferguson didn't win THAT 1990 FA Cup game | inside World Soccer

What could've been if Sir Alex Ferguson didn't win THAT 1990 FA Cup game

Sunday, November 26, 2017

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Former Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards admits he'd have sacked Sir Alex Ferguson had they they not won a crucial FA Cup tie in January 1990.

With Liverpool and Arsenal dominating domestically and a failure to turn United around quickly, Ferguson's third anniversary in the job threatened to be his last, with his expensively rebuilt team hovering above the relegation zone in the winter of the 1989/90 campaign.

Then United went to an in-form Nottingham Forest side in the FA Cup in January 1990. If Forest had triumphed, as was expected, the pressure on Ferguson would have been almost unbearable.

However, a Mark Robins goal was enough to give United a slender victory at the City Ground, and they went on to win the competition.

Speaking to Stretty News TV, though, Edwards admits things may have been different for Ferguson had United lost that tie and failed to improve on their league position.

I used to get a lot of letters and reply to letters but all I could say was "I hear what you say but he is working very hard and we have just bought these players and were hoping it is going to come good".

Sometimes chairmen used to go out and give a vote of confidence in a manager and really it is the death knell. So I steered away from votes of confidence but I did answer the private letters and all I could do was just hope and pray that it turned around sooner rather than later.

I have always been honest and said that although I supported him that season and I told him that his job wasn't on the line at Forest away, I don't know whether if we had gone out of the cup that game and our league position hadn't improved how long more I could've gone on supporting him, I don't know.

I've always been honest about that. It may have come the day we had to say "hang on Alex, I have supported you the best I can, but it is not getting any better".

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That success proved to be the catalyst for Ferguson's trophy-laden career across the next 23 years as Emperor of Old Trafford.

That cup run lifted the pressure. It was probably still there at the end of the season but it lifted the pressure and then of course with the Cup Winners' Cup run the following season and going all the way and winning it.

The following season we should've won the league and we didn't, but we won the League Cup but we should have won it that year but by then he was established as a winner.

Asked if Ferguson would be given time in the modern game, Edwards said:

I have my doubts but I don't know.

We did persevere because it wasn't happening in the early years. We never lost faith because we knew what Alex was trying to do at ground floor level.

He wasn't happy with the scouting, he felt Manchester City were ahead of us in scouting and he felt there weren't enough scouts, the scouts weren't doing their job well enough, we weren't getting enough youngsters, City were getting more of the better youngsters at that time. He completely revamped the scouting, he was obviously very keen with the junior teams.

We were very anxious to keep him to give him a chance to get that success. That cup run allowed him to do that when he went on to Wembley and we won that then lifted the pressure off everyone, particularly me as chairman. Then, of course, the Cup Winners' Cup the following year then the League Cup and then it just accumulated.

We were patient, it was all to do with patience, and just believing that we had got the right man but hoping like hell he was going to prove it to us.

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