Ferdinand claims Ferguson was always “speaking to his bookie” during training

Sir Alex Ferguson was not known for his hands on approach during his Man Utd days and Rio Ferdinand reveals he spent more time on the phone to his bookie than talking to anyone else

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Rio Ferdinand has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson never took training sessions and spent more time speaking to his bookie than anyone else.

The former Manchester United boss presided over a trophy-laden period that spanned more than two decades.

Since leaving Old Trafford the Red Devils have been unable to maintain that success, but the Scot was far from hands on.

He employed a host of No 2s during his tenure, several of whom went on to forge careers as managers in their own right.

But Ferguson took on more of a observers role and delegated to his coaching team.

Rio Ferdinand claimed Sir Alex Ferguson was often on the phone to his bookie

Ferdinand said on his ‘ Rio Ferdinand Presents Five ‘ podcast: “Fergie never took sessions.

“He obviously did the talking and setting up of the sessions with the coaches before we went out and trained and then he’d just stand on the sidelines and observe the individuals, team, situations, the mood, the pace and intensity of training.”

But when quizzed on whether Ferguson would ever make comments during training the centre-half admitted he was busy discussing which race horse he was going to back.

He added: “He’s speaking to his bookie about which horse he’s backing. That’s the person he has most conversation with.

The Scot has a passion for horse racing


Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

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“Every now and again before the session he’d gather us in, maybe ahead of a big game at the weekend or after a result and say, ‘listen guys that game is out of your system now, I want a hard session’.

“So he wouldn’t be talking too much about the detail.”

Ferguson has a long standing interest in horse racing and has owned several horses.

Ferdinand was asked about some of Fergie’s right-hand men, one of whom was Carlos Queiroz.

He had two spells at United from 2002-2003 and 2004-2008, with a year in charge of Real Madrid in-between.

Ferdinand said: “Carlos was probably the balancing act for the manager who was a bit of a maverick and smell a situation and just go with it.

“Carlos was a bit more pragmatic and would say, ‘let’s think about this, this situation is going to happen in a game, let’s bide our time so we’re solid and we’re strong’.

“He was brilliant, the best manager for transition. We did a lot of sessions that were repetitive and based about how we win the ball and going into the heart of the other team and killing them with movement and rotations.

“If you look at the team when he was coach, we were resolute, we could fight anybody, run against anybody and play against anybody.”

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