Ghana's No. 1

Massimo Taibi gives surprising Sir Alex Ferguson verdict when assessing Manchester United spell

Published on: 23 September 2022

Sir Alex Ferguson has been labelled a 'democratic dictator' by his former Manchester United goalkeeper Massimo Taibi.

Arriving from Aberdeen in 1986, Ferguson went on to spend the rest of his managerial career at Old Trafford, eventually retiring in 2013. During his 27 year reign, Ferguson won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions Leagues and FIFA Club World Cup.

His historic reign has gone down in United folklore with successors to Ferguson finding it difficult it is to live up to his achievements. One player who spent a brief (and ill-fated_ time under his management was Massimo Taibi.

The Italian goalkeeper made four appearances for United in the 1999/00 season but conceded 11 goals including a 5-0 hammering against Chelsea and a famous mistake against Southampton. But when asked what his relationship was like with Ferguson, Taibi had nothing but good things to say.

"He was a coach that could do it all – he did everything at the club and knew exactly how to run things," Taibi told FourFourTwo. "He knew when to get angry, he knew when to back you and he knew when to say nothing at all.

"He was a demanding boss. I used to call him a democratic dictator, but he was an exquisite man; a person of depth.

"I was sorry to break off the relationship and return to Italy after such a short time. He felt bad that things hadn’t worked out, and I look back with regret about my departure.

"That is probably the only regret I have in my career – I should have been stronger and tried to solve my problems in England. Sir Alex would have stood by me, and I know I would have been given other chances to show what I could do."

After a disastrous four games in goal Taibi, who was signed as a replacement for Peter Schmeichel, spent the rest of his time on the bench. In January 2001, the Palermo born 'keeper would move to Reggina where, since 2018, he has been the club's sporting director.


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