Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson is a Scottish former football manager and player who managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013. He is considered one of the greatest managers of all time and he has won more trophies than any other manager in the history of football. Ferguson played as a forward including Dunfermline Athletic and Rangers. While playing for Dunfermline, he was the top goalscorer in the Scottish league in the 1965–66 season. Towards the end of his playing career he worked as a coach started his managerial career with East Stirlingshire and St Mirren. Ferguson enjoyed a successful period as manager of Aberdeen, winning three Scottish league championships, four Scottish Cups and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1983, he managed Scotland following the death of Jock Stein, taking the team to the 1986 World Cup. Ferguson was appointed manager of Manchester United in November 1986. During his 26 years with Manchester United he won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, two UEFA Champions League titles.
He was knighted in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours list for his services to the game. Ferguson is the longest-serving manager of Manchester United, having overtaken Sir Matt Busby's record on 19 December 2010, he retired from management at the end of the 2012–13 season, having won the Premier League in his final season. Born to Alexander Beaton Ferguson, a plater's helper in the shipbuilding industry, his wife, Alex Chapman Ferguson was born at his grandmother's home on Shieldhall Road in Govan on 31 December 1941, but grew up in a tenement at 667 Govan Road, where he lived with his parents as well as his younger brother Martin. Ferguson attended Broomloan Road Primary School and Govan High School, he began his football career with Harmony Row Boys Club in Govan, before progressing to Drumchapel Amateurs, a youth club with a strong reputation for producing senior footballers. He took an apprenticeship as a toolmaker at a factory in Hillington, being appointed a union shop steward. Ferguson's playing career began as an amateur with Queen's Park, where he made his debut as a striker, aged 16.
He described his first match as a "nightmare", but scored Queen's Park's goal in a 2–1 defeat against Stranraer. His most notable game for Queen's Park was the 7–1 defeat away to Queen of the South on Boxing Day 1959 when ex-England international Ivor Broadis scored four of the Queen of the South goals. Ferguson was the solitary Queen's Park goalscorer. Despite scoring 20 goals in his 31 games for Queen's Park, he could not command a regular place in the side and moved to St Johnstone in 1960. Although he continued to score at St Johnstone, he was still unable to command a regular place and requested transfers. Ferguson was out of favour at the club and he considered emigrating to Canada, however St Johnstone's failure to sign a forward led the manager to select Ferguson for a match against Rangers, in which he scored a hat-trick in a surprise victory. Dunfermline signed him the following summer, Ferguson became a full-time professional footballer; the following season, Dunfermline were strong challengers for the Scottish League and reached the Scottish Cup Final, but Ferguson was dropped for the final after a poor performance in a league game against St Johnstone.
Dunfermline lost the final 3–2 to Celtic failed to win the League by one point. The 1965–66 season saw Ferguson notch up 45 goals in 51 games for Dunfermline. Along with Joe McBride of Celtic, he was the top goalscorer in the Scottish league with 31 goals, he joined Rangers for £65,000 a record fee for a transfer between two Scottish clubs. He performed well in Europe during his two seasons with the club, scoring six goals in nine appearances in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup including two against 1. FC Köln in the 1967–68 competition, an important strike against Athletic Bilbao in the 1968–69 edition which helped Rangers into the semi-finals, but on both occasions they were knocked out by English opposition, he was blamed for a goal conceded in the 1969 Scottish Cup Final, in a match in which he was designated to mark Celtic captain, Billy McNeill, was subsequently forced to play for the club's junior side instead of for the first team. According to his brother, Ferguson was so upset by the experience that he threw his losers' medal away.
There have been claims that he suffered discrimination at Rangers after his marriage to a Catholic, Cathy Holding, but Ferguson himself makes it clear in his autobiography that Rangers knew of his wife's religion when he joined the club and that he left the club reluctantly, due to the fall-out from his alleged cup final mistake. The following October, Nottingham Forest wanted to sign Ferguson, but his wife was not keen on moving to England at that time so he went to Falkirk instead, he remained at Brockville for four years gaining more league appearances. Ferguson's time at Falkirk was soured by this and he responded by requesting a transfer and moved to Ayr United, where he finished his playing career in 1974. In June 1974, Ferguson was appointed manager of East Stirlingshire, at the comparatively young age of 32, it was a part-time job that paid £40 per week, the club did not have a single goalkeeper at the time. He gained a reputation as a disciplinarian, with club forward Bobby McCulley saying he had "never been afraid of anyone before but Ferguson was a frightening bastard from the start."The following October, Ferguson was invited to manage St Mirren.
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