Ferdinand hails Sir Alex Ferguson's verve and passion for success

‘He was an animal!’: Rio Ferdinand hails Sir Alex Ferguson’s verve and passion for success after the former Manchester United boss was inducted into the Premier League’s Hall of Fame alongside former adversary Arsene Wenger

  • Rio Ferdinand has hailed his former manager after Premier League recognition
  • Sir Alex Ferguson was inducted into the Premier League’s Hall of Fame 
  • Former players lined up to praise him and hail his career at Manchester United 

Rio Ferdinand has hailed his former manager after Sir Alex Ferguson was inducted to the Premier League’s Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

The Scot, 81, was admitted alongside former adversary Arsene Wenger – becoming the first two managers to be bestowed with the honour, following a raft of player inductions in 2021 and 2022. 

Former players of the two legendary former managers queued up to offer their praise and thanks, with Ferdinand in particular honing in on Ferguson’s passion for management and his insatiable desire for success.

‘He was an animal. When you look back at his age, how long he’d been at the club – his appetite for the game, his appetite for rebuilding a team, it was crazy,’ he told Manchester United’s website.

‘Even in the last year of his time at Man United, he’s coming in earlier than everyone else. Nine times out of 10, you walk out to the car and he’s still there. 

Sir Alex Ferguson has been hailed by former player Rio Ferdinand following his induction to the Premier League’s Hall of Fame

The legendary Scot is English football’s most successful ever manager having won 13 Premier League crowns

Ferguson spoke of his pride at being admitted alongside former foe Arsene Wenger

‘You look up at his office, he’s either swinging around in his chair with one of the papers or on his phone, putting a bet on the horses at Cheltenham or something if that’s the time of the year.’

He pointed to Ferguson’s calculated nature as a key reason for his success, noting his influence over others – perhaps when they were least expecting it.

‘Every move he made was calculated. I don’t think there would have been many interviews in crunch times of a season that he went into where he hasn’t had a thought process going into it,’ the former central defender said.

‘Whether it be the team have been terrible or the referee’s made a small decision that maybe impacted the game a little bit, everything he does is for a reaction and that’s part of his greatness. He played that game better than anyone.’

Ferdinand himself was part of one of Ferguson’s most successful periods as United boss. Together, they won six league crowns, the Champions League, two League Cups and a host of other honours.  

Ferguson is widely regarded to be the best manager to ever grace the English game, having picked up a record 13 Premier League titles over a 27-year career at Old Trafford.

Ferguson said: ‘I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this. 

‘However, it’s not just about me as a person. It’s about the job at Manchester United and the bond we had over many years, so I’m also proud for the club, the staff and my players.

The legendary duo established one of the biggest rivalries in the Premier League’s history

Ferguson (left) reveals he and Wenger (right) have gone for dinner in Switzerland

‘My job was to send the fans home happy. United’s history and my own expectations were the things that drove me, and I then had to try and develop all my players with the same expectations and make sure we could go out and achieve them.’

Having buried the hatchet with former rival Wenger years ago, Ferguson offered some kind words to the Frenchman, crediting him with transforming Arsenal. 

‘I feel Arsene is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal Football Club fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further,’ he said.

‘Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!’

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