Can consulting manage Brexit?
Home » theFee » Fergie's management legacy

Sir Alex Ferguson's lessons in management for consultants

Sir Alex Ferguson
Premiership Champions parade - 2013

Manchester: Half a million people on the streets of Manchester last night, and barely a dry eye.

The City was painted red (its true colour) to see United parade their 20th League trophy, and to say goodbye to Sir Alex Ferguson.

Tempting as it is to write another Fergie living-obituary, or go through my personal play-book of United moments, I will desist.

Suffice it to say that not many football managers find their retirement announced on the front page of The Financial Times, their management style scrutinised by the Lex column, or their managerial career the subject of a wide ranging FT editorial.

But Fergie did. And quite right too. You could argue that Alex Ferguson was the outstanding manager of his generation — in any industry.

Last word to Dan Jones, Partner in Deloitte's Sports Business Group — a business in effect created on the back of a Ferguson driven football renaissance in England.

He said, "Manchester United has been transformed as a football club under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson. Financially, the last 26 years has coincided with a wider revolution in English football with massive investment in the game and the growth of the Premier League, particularly driven by domestic and international broadcast deals. Since the 1992/93 season, United's revenue has grown from £25.2m to £320.3m for the 2011/12 season; an impressive average annual increase of 14%. During this time the on-pitch accomplishments have underpinned the commercial success of the club and led to increases across all revenue streams and the establishment of United as one of, if not the, biggest brands in world football.

"Manchester United is the top revenue generating club in England. For the 2011/12 season, United's revenue of £320m was £60m more than second-placed Chelsea. United's total wage bill of £162m was the third highest in English football for the 2011/12 season, behind that of Manchester City (£202m) and Chelsea (£173m). United's ratio of total wages to revenue of 50% remained amongst the lowest of all English clubs, thereby sustaining a level of annual operating profitability to help fund investment in facilities, youth development and playing talent.

"In world football, United's 2011/12 revenue of £320m ranked third in the Deloitte Football Money League, behind only Real Madrid and Barcelona who each currently benefit from having individual, rather than collective, broadcast deals."

You can't reduce Fergie's legacy to the mere numbers of course, but they are not bad for a ship's welder "fi Govan".

Next week he will be followed by David Moyes, another Scottish socialist with a bit of a temper.

Whether Moysey ever finds himself speaking to Harvard Business School is another matter.

Share this article