Sir Alex Ferguson delivered a final team talk to some of his most decorated Manchester United players, and reader, the banter was palpable.
Somewhat disappointingly, there wasn’t a metaphorical hairdryer in sight when the unreasonably successful Scotsman took charge of the United side that ran out at Michael Carrick’s testimonial.
As a manager, Fergie was known for his explosive temper and ruthless dressing-downs of players who weren’t pulling their weight, but this was a day of celebration, congratulation, and Gary Neville digging out Rio for his stint at QPR.
Among those sat in the Old Trafford changing room were Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra, Wayne “WAZZA” Rooney, Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov. Ryan Giggs had probably the funniest (not to mention bravest) response to his manager. When the 75-year-old asked why, back in the day, nobody ever had anything to say at the end of his talks, Giggs chimed in: “we were usually asleep.”
I also liked the bit when Fergie commends G Nev for his ever-expanding business empire (“Gary owns the city of Manchester now, buying everything”) and also how he almost forgets Paul Scholes, one of the greatest footballers he ever managed.
That’s not to say sincerity was totally absent from the room. Addressing his now retired former charges, Ferguson said: “Apart from a great team, you’ve turned out great guys. You’ve done really well, all of you. Well done.”