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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 November 2006, 12:52 GMT
Gary Pallister on Ferguson
Gary Pallister
By Gary Pallister
Man Utd defender 1989-1998

I had heard all about Sir Alex Ferguson's fiery reputation before signing for Manchester United, so when I signed I was waiting for it to happen.

I expected it after one of my first games when we lost 5-1 against Manchester City, but he was unusually calm and I thought maybe he is not as that fearsome.

As the season came to pass I saw what Sir Alex was all about.

He gets his point across very bluntly and is intimidating because you knew once he unleashed a verbal volley, dubbed the hairdryer, he could be quite scathing.

Gary Pallister (right) spent nine years with Man Utd
The 1996 FA Cup was one of nine major titles Pallister (right) won at Man Utd
Sometimes you would agree, sometimes you would not. Sometimes you would argue back, sometimes you would not.

If you argued with him he would usually shout even more.

It used to be a standing joke in the dressing room. Who would be next on the list? But we would usually have a laugh about it afterwards.

You have to admire the guy, the passion just comes out of him if things have not gone well.

It was not just when we got beaten, it was if you played poor and won a game. If he is not happy he will tell you you have not played well or reached the standards he expects.

It is not done for effect, it is because it is what he feels.

It goes back to when he won the Scottish Cup with Aberdeen and ripped into his players afterwards. He wants to win football games and he wants to win in style.

You need that respect, that little bit of fear where you do not know what is going to happen.

It is old-style management but he mixes it with 21st-century methods - he married the two together with his attention to detail and looking for that 1% that might matter.

He brought in eye specialists to talk about peripheral vision. People talk about that now but he was doing that 10 years ago.

I signed for the club in 1989. The deal was done at a restaurant on the A19 when I was sat outside in my agent's car.

It was not a very good time for me. I'd had a fall-out with the Middlesbrough manager and there was a lot of ill-feeling.

Manchester United got pushed to the limit and had to pay a British record fee, which for a centre-half was probably ridiculous but I will be forever thankful he had enough faith to pay it.

Born in Ramsgate, Kent on 30/06/1965
Joined Man Utd from Middlesbrough in August 1989 for 2.3m
Played 437 games
Won European Cup Winners Cup (1991), Premiership (1993, 1994, 1996, 1997), FA Cup (1990, 1994, 1996), League Cup (1992)
Rejoined Middlesbrough in July 1998 for 2.5m
He did not have to sell the club but he made me feel really wanted.

He talked about playing exciting football and how Steve Bruce and I could build a great partnership - everything was positive.

He was rebuilding from the foundations and putting his own stamp on the club and building the youth academy that went on to pay great fruits.

But the glory days United went on to achieve seemed light years away.

The holy grail was the league title and they had not won that for over 20 years.

After nine years of success it was hard to leave the club but I had seen players like Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson hurt when they moved on when they felt they had more to give.

I was coming to my testimonial season and still had a year on my contract but the club accepted an offer and that was that.

I was not going to get bitter and twisted so I upped and left.

We still keep in touch and he is different class when I go back there.

I always remember his old Aberdeen players Alex McLeish and Willie Miller coming up for dinner at The Cliff training ground and when I am at Old Trafford he always asks me in for a coffee or a glass of wine.

He is incredibly loyal and likes to look after his old players.

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