Sir Alex: I'm too old for retirement

Published Nov. 18, 2010 9:46 p.m. ET

Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed retirement as a young man's game and revealed he has left it up to his family to decide when he stops working.

The Manchester United manager turns 69 next month but has no plans to relinquish the post at Old Trafford which he has held since 1986.

And providing he remains healthy Ferguson is set to remain with the Red Devils for the foreseeable future.

"Retirement is for young people," Ferguson said. "I'm too old to retire. I would have nothing to do.

"As long as my health is good I will carry on. My family will make this decision."

Ferguson was a guest at the inaugural Aspire4Sport conference in Qatar on Wednesday, and admitted he has mellowed as a manager but is still prepared to give players the 'hairdryer' treatment if warranted.

"I've mellowed a great deal," the Scot explained. "The world has changed and so have players' attitudes.


"I'm dealing with more fragile human beings than I used to be. They are cocooned by modern parents, agents, even their own image at times.

"They need to be seen with their tattoos and earrings. It's a different world for me so I have had to adapt.

"There is nothing wrong with losing your temper if it's for the right reasons. But I never leave it until the next day. I don't believe in that."

Ferguson also admitted he would have loved the opportunity to manage Barcelona.

The Scot added: "I would have loved to have gone to Barcelona at one time in my life. That would have been a dream.

"Their ideology and philosophy, the whole place is fantastic. But I'm at the same kind of club in terms of vision. A different culture maybe, but we both always try to win a game."

Ferguson also spoke about Wayne Rooney, claiming the United striker realised he had made a major mistake when he felt the backlash against his plans to leave Old Trafford.

Rooney stated last month that he would not sign a new contract with United, after failing to receive assurances over squad-strengthening.

But two days later he agreed a five-year stay, with Ferguson glad the England striker realised he had been hasty in going public over his concerns, which were met by an angry response from many supporters.

Ferguson believes the advice Rooney received was not in the 25-year-old's best interests.

"You don't necessarily have to heed advice after listening to it," Ferguson said.

"Some young people take bad advice. He has an agent who is not the most popular man in the world and he obviously sold it to Wayne to ask away. The boy rushed in.

"But the minute he heard the response of the public and our supporters, he changed his mind, he knew he'd made a mistake.

"There's nothing wrong with that as long as you recognise it. He immediately apologised and agreed a new contract within a couple of hours."

Ferguson is now hoping to see Rooney rediscover prime form, after struggling for goals this year.

Rooney has been at Nike's plush headquarters in Beaverton, on the west coast of the United States, for a week of conditioning work.

"We want to get Wayne back to his best," said Ferguson.

"He's had a good week in the States and we've got him to the point where we want him to be in terms of accelerating his fitness."