In an interview with the Manchester radio station Key 103, Sir Alex Ferguson, the Glasgow-born manager of English soccer champions Manchester United (his ninth title in 14 years), reveals an interest for food and cooking.
He reveals that as a young man, he had experience of the restaurant trade.
‘I worked in a kitchen for 18 months. I bought a site in Paisley for a restaurant. I was about 30 and I felt that, if I was going to run a restaurant, I needed to work in one to see what it was like.’
The passion was there ….
‘I was into cooking a great deal and I could do most things. In terms of what you see nowadays I would be lost, but I can still do a good pasta or a Chinese.’
… but, ultimately, Ferguson believes that being a chef is a much tougher job than being a football manager.
‘I’ve been in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant and his office where he speaks to all the chefs in the morning. He’s fine, Gordon. The problem with being a perfectionist is that it must be terrible to think about dropping even a fraction. In football there is room for error in a 38-game program, but if he has one bad meal in 38 he could lose business and his reputation. I think that’s what keeps the real rough edge on Gordon.’
Not that Ferguson is choosy about what he eats. Speaking about trips to the cinema with his wife, he says.
‘We go to the cinema almost every week. Cathy and I go to the early show at around five o’clock. I get my pick’n’mix and my hot dog and ice cream. Cathy says I’m a pig.’
Sir Alex is also known to be a connoisseur of fine wines, which he buys and sells for profit, and is said to have toasted AC Milan’s recent Champions League Final victory over Liverpool in Athens with a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino given to him by the Milan team’s manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Ferguson has won more trophies than any other manager in the history of English football and has led Manchester United in well over 1,000 matches. With 20 years at Old Trafford under his belt, he is the second-longest serving manager in the history of United after Sir Matt Busby.