Sir Alex Ferguson has been pipped at the post by José Mourinho, although he may not mind finishing second this time.
In a survey conducted by bookmakers Ladbrokes, it was revealed that the public deemed Sir Alex the second most controversial sports manager of all time.
Of the 1,000 people asked, 15 per cent voted for Ferguson due to the 72-year-old “throwing his boot at David Beckham and often shouting at referees.”
Mourinho, the self-acclaimed ‘Special One’, topped the list, which also included the late Brian Clough, current Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew and former United boss Ron Atkinson.
Voters declared they chose Mourinho due to the Portuguese’s “controversial comments and mind games,” while Pardew head-butted Hull City’s David Meyler last season.
Brian Clough famously lead Derby County to the pinnacle of English football before taking Nottingham Forest to an outstanding two consecutive European Cup titles.
But he was not without his controversies: while at Derby he sacked two tea ladies simply because he caught them laughing after a County defeat.
Mr. Clough, as he preferred to be called, was often said to be harsh but fair although several players and officials alike found him to be arrogant at times.
Perhaps this is backed up by his most famous quip of: “I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I’m definitely in the top one.”
Ferguson, who retired in 2013 after 26 trophy-laden years at the helm at Old Trafford, lifted the lid on many of the controversies that surrounded his career in his recent autobiography – which has likely contributed to his lofty position on the list.
United stalwart Roy Keane was one of the targets for Ferguson, and the fierce Irishman has himself hit back with scathing criticism of the Scot in his own autobiography that is to be released this week.
Ladbrokes also revealed the top five most controversial sports commentators, with the aforementioned Atkinson again included.
Atkinson, now 75, preceded Fergie in the United hot seat for five years between 1981 and ’86.
And he sits in second place in the list for controversial commentators, just behind former Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray – who left the broadcaster in 2011 amid sexism allegations.
He was forced to resign from ITV after calling the then Chelsea footballer Marcel Desailly “… a fucking lazy, thick n****,” live on air – thinking that the microphones were switched off at the time.
Unfortunately, his slur was aired in several countries – mostly to vast audiences in the Middle East.
As for Sir Alex, while his success cannot be questioned – he claimed 36 trophies during his United reign – perhaps the method in his madness was a bit too extreme at times.
To see Ladbrokes ‘Did They Really Say That‘ game, click here.
Main image courtesy of Absolute Radio via YouTube, with thanks.