The falling-out was gradual and prompted by Beckham's increasingly public lifestyle. But it came to a head following a 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Arsenal at Old Trafford in February 2003, when an argument in the dressing room ended with Ferguson kicking a stray boot which hit Beckham above the eye, needing stitches which Beckham made sure everyone saw. Beckham left for Real Madrid that summer.
Ince was the self-styled Guv'nor, and it was increasingly unlikely there'd be room for the two of them. A reputed falling-out after a 4-0 thrashing by Barcelonain in November 1994 left the two estranged, both isolated by their self-regard. Ince left in 1995, later to be branded a "f***ing big-time Charlie" by Ferguson in a dressing-room documentary.
Sharpe (right) dines out on the story of Ferguson hunting him down at a house party during the title run-in of 1992, throwing all the other guests out (but, so the story goes, failing to find a cowering Ryan Giggs (left) in a cupboard). Sharpe survived the dressing down but his reputation as the team's party animal was established and he finally left for Leeds in 1996.
Ruud van Nistelrooy
The prolific forward was left with a long face after being dropped to the bench for the 2006 Carling Cup final, which followed a long period of increasing isolation for the Dutchman who had begun a feud with Cristiano Ronaldo - including telling him to "go crying to your daddy", meaning assistant manager Carlos Queiroz, shortly after Ronaldo's real father had died. Ferguson shipped him off to Real Madrid at the end of the season.
Triggs the dog apart, few seem to have an easy relationship with Keane, though Ferguson was coping better than most before keane's disatisfaction with a training camp was followed up with a broadside against his teammates on the MUTV station. Though it was never broadcast, Keane's assault on the sanctity of the dressing room, saw him shipped out to Celtic very shortly after.
Ferguson pledged to rid United of its booze culture when he took over at Old Trafford in 1986, but three years later McGrath and Norman Whiteside, who were both injured, appeared to be drunk during a TBV interview before an FA Cup tie. McGrath was sold on to Aston Villa for a mere £450,000 where he resurrected his career.
The two Scots had enjoyed success together at Aberdeen, but Strachan was not exactly delighted when Ferguson became his boss once again. "The screaming and shouting did not cease," Strachan later claimed. After one game when Ferguson compared Strachan to 'a triallist', he was sold to Leeds. In his autobiography, Ferguson was to later label Strachan as untrustworthy.
The Belfast legend is another with a fondness for the booze - and that didn't help his fitness levels or recovery from injury. The story goes that during a club trip to Bahrain, Whiteside and team-mate Bryan Robson were forced to walk three miles back to the hotel after being discovered in a bar by Ferguson and his assistant Archie Knox. Robson's career survived, but Whiteseide was sold to Everton.
The Dutch defender was sold to Lazio in 2001 after alleging in his autobiography Head to Head that Ferguson had approached him about joining United without the permission of his previous club, PSV Eindhoven. He also made some unflattering comments about his team-mates. This falling out was one of the few Ferguson regretted, admitting, years later, that he had made a mistake.
Schmeichel tells of the time he was sacked by Ferguson. After conceding three against Liverpool in 1994, the two had fierce words about the keepers' performance. The Dane wasn't best pleased: "We ended up having a massive, massive row. The next day, I was called into his office and he said, 'Listen, I have to sack you. I can't tolerate my players speaking to me like that. It goes against my authority.'" Schmeichel did the wise thing, apologised to his manager and teammates and resumed his medal-laden career.
You can't help but feel that the Portugese winger Nani has taken his career in his hands with his attack on the management style of Sir Alex Ferguson.
In an interview in Portugal, the winger is quoted as saying: "He can go from complimenting you to just plain trashing you in a matter of minutes. Has it happened to me? Hell, yes. He'll say 'Nani, how could you miss this or this'? He shouts at players in front of everyone. No one escapes, everybody is the same."
Nani is clearly not a student of football history, or he would have know that those who cross Fergie are soon shown the exit...
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