Robins on Fergie
Rotherham United's new manager, Mark Robins, is the latest of seven of Sir Alex Ferguson's protégés who are now managing clubs in England. Of these seven it is perhaps Robins that Sir Alex will be thanking more than the others.
The Daily Mirror writes today about how Mark Robins scored the winner in a third round FA Cup game at Nottingham Forest some seventeen years ago to save the Manchester United boss's career. Sir Alex (or plain Alex as he was then) was just one game away from getting sacked when this goal sparked a Manchester United revival which gave the Reds boss his first trophy at Old Trafford. The rest, as they say, is history.
As Robins started his managerial career yesterday he admits that Fergie is the perfect role model. Robins told The Daily Mirror 'I'd like to think I've learned some things from Sir Alex that I can use to my advantage. I spoke to him a little while ago and he was very helpful - I needed a favour and although nothing came of it in the end talking to him and having a little bit of his time was fascinating. He always has something insightful to say. I bump into him on the circuit from time to time but to be honest we are operating at different ends of the spectrum.
'The big thing I remember about him was that he was an absolute stickler for discipline. If you didn't abide by the rules you wouldn't last two minutes. I was disciplined and as a result had quite a good rapport with Sir Alex. The hairdryer treatment is no myth - I was unfortunate enough to experience it.'
Although Robins refuses to admit he saved his mentors skin all those seasons ago, he says he would like a favour in return some time.
'No one knows what would have happened had we lost that FA Cup game, but I think it's something the press have cultivated.
'What I do know is that Sir Alex lives and breathes football. He has devoted his life to it. He is a master at what he does and if you wish to emulate anyone it would be him.
'If he was to offer help and advice it would be greatly appreciated but I can't imagine our footballing paths crossing too often.
'He is someone for young managers, like me to look up to and learn from.'
The other ex-players under Sir Alex who have become managers are Mark Hughes (Blackburn), Steve Bruce (Birmingham), Roy Keane (Sunderland), Paul Ince (Macclesfield), Darren Ferguson (Peterborough) and Chris Casper (Bury).