Paul Ince: Sir Alex Ferguson ‘went for me’ after changing room row

Manchester United no longer have a presence, adds former United midfielder

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince has told William Hill’s podcast, Up Front with Simon Jordan, that he once told Sir Alex Ferguson to “go and f*** yourself” during a changing room argument following a win, with Ince adding that Ferguson went for him during the altercation.

Featuring on William Hill’s Up Front with Simon Jordan, a podcast hosted by the former Crystal Palace owner who speaks to sports stars and celebrities and challenges their opinions whilst scrutinising their careers, Ince said: “It happened after a game away at Norwich. We were 3-1 up and I’d had a very good game, I was playing really well. In the last five minutes, I tried to beat one or two players with the ball and got caught… that was it.

“We get into the changing room, everyone is high-fiving and saying ‘what a great result’. Sir Alex Ferguson comes in shouting and I’m thinking, ‘what’s he going mad for, we’ve just won 3-1?’ He singles me out and says, ‘You, you’re not Ryan Giggs or Andrei Kanchelskis. Your job is to pass the ball!’. I said, ‘what the f*** are you on about?’ He’s hollering and shouting, and getting closer and closer – I wasn’t having it. I didn’t care what the repercussions were, I really didn’t. I said to him, ‘gaffer, you can go f*** yourself. I don’t give a f*** gaffer, go and f*** yourself, do what you want. You’re moaning when we’ve just won, f*** off’. All of a sudden he said, ‘don’t talk to me like that’, and he went for me.

“Brian Kidd stood up, Lee Sharpe stood up. I said, ‘come on then’ – I’m wasn’t prepared to have that from him. But everyone jumped in and that was it. That was the end of the conversation. I got home and said to my wife, ‘what is wrong with me?’ That red mist just descends and that’s it. But three days later we were fine.”

Manchester United no longer have a presence

Ince then turned his attention to the current Manchester United side, noting that they lack leadership and have “lost their presence”, adding that he does not believe anyone in the current squad will be looked back on as a great player in a decade’s time, unlike stars currently playing for United’s rivals such as Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne.

“In football we always talk about leaders, but they’re a dying breed. They don’t have them anymore, society doesn’t breed them and I think it’s a generational thing. When you talk about leaders and characters, that’s what Manchester United was based on. Steve Bruce wasn’t a great player but he was a great leader, and that’s a big difference. I’m not sure they’ll regain that under Erik ten Hag.

“When I look at Man United over the last six or seven years, they’ve lost their presence. They no longer have the presence that they used to. We used to beat teams just by the way we stood in the tunnel, but teams now think they can go to Old Trafford and get something. Man United now play counter-attacking football. People say we’re going to get the Man United of old back, where it’s free-flowing football with wingers, but we’re not. They need to be competing with the big teams.

“Two years ago, Ten Hag comes in and everyone says the remit is to get closer to Manchester City, but now they’re further away from Manchester City – and not just Manchester City, but Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Tottenham… It gets tougher, and tougher, and tougher. If I said to you in 10 years’ time, name me a great Man United player playing now, who would you say? At Liverpool you’ve got Mohamed Salah, at Man City you’ve got Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland… In 10 years’ time, there’s no-one you’d look back on and say he’s a great player for Man United.”