07/03/2013 05:15 GMT | Updated 07/03/2013 05:41 GMT

Wayne Rooney Another Manchester United Man To Lose Battle With Sir Alex Ferguson?

Sir Alex Ferguson may be 71, but it is a quote he uttered when he was 64 that endures in the week Wayne Rooney was invited into Old Trafford's departure lounge.

"I can't lose an argument. The manager can never lose an argument," the Scot stressed, unwilling to conform to The Beatles' ditty.

Ferguson has been having arguments all his life - he estimated a million two weeks ago when extolling David Gill ahead of his summer exit - and some of his most influential players' Manchester United careers have ended having come second best to their manager.

Rooney reneged on his desire to leave United within days back in October 2010, but tension has lingered and it seems set to be broken by transferring the striker in the summer. He is far from the first, however...


Leighton looked overcome by the occasion when he shipped in three goals in the 1990 FA Cup final, but United salvaged a replay thanks to Mark Hughes' equaliser. Ferguson decided to drop a goalkeeper he had signed in 1998 in favour of chirpy Cockney Les Sealey for the re-match.

Leighton had a nightmare in the 1990 final

So distraught was Leighton at the decision he has refused to comment on his demotion - Sealey even offered to give the former Aberdeen custodian his winner's medal. United won 1-0 in what was Ferguson's first trophy with the club while Leighton would play just once more for the Reds - at Halifax Town in the League Cup.


United fans armed with old club videos will not have been surprised Ferguson grew weary of Ince's 'Guv'nor' moniker prior to his sale to Internazionale in 1995. A pivotal player in Ferguson's first European, league and double triumphs, his brash personality which dominated fly-on-the-wall documentaries such as Steve Bruce's Captain's Log is omnipresent. Eventually, Ferguson staked trust in Nicky Butt and allowed Ince to move to Italy.

Ince goads United fans after scoring a late equaliser at Anfield in 1999

Only he returned two years later to join the enemy - Liverpool. Prior to a September 1998 fixture between the clubs, a documentary showed Ferguson label Ince a "big-time Charlie". United won 2-0 and a one-time favourite was treated to a chorus of "Charlie, Charlie, what's the score?"


The world's most expensive defender at £10.75m when United bought him from PSV Eindhoven in 1998, Stam's name is regularly sung at away games by the Red Army. It is an indication of the general consensus Ferguson made a mistake in selling the Dutchman and replacing him with Laurent Blanc.

Ferguson with Stam at his press conference unveiling in 1998

Stam was at the club for just three seasons and was part of the Treble-winning squad and a mainstay in the first United team to win three consecutive titles. Then his autobiography was serialised in the Mirror. The Neville brothers were described as "busy little c***s" and Stam suggested he had been tapped up by United. After one game of the 2001-02 campaign, he was sold to Lazio against his will for £16.5m - his wife having just ordered a new kitchen.


Ferguson's relationship with Beckham was always on the brink of capitulating due to the then England captain's showbiz lifestyle, but the breakdown came in the dressing room after a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in the fifth-round of the FA Cup in 2003. Ferguson singled out Beckham for criticism in the dressing room and took out his frustration by kicking a boot, which inadvertently hit the England captain above his left eyebrow. Beckham had to be held back by teammates as he went for his manager, making a summer departure inevitable.

Beckham had stitches for the cut which resulted from the flying boot kicked by Ferguson

The midfielder was eventually sold to Real Madrid for £25m and Ferguson replaced him with an 18-year-old Madeiran called Cristiano Ronaldo.


The 2005-06 season is one of the most tempestuous in Ferguson's time at United, and Roy Keane poured fuel onto a fire already bellowing in the aftermath of the Glazer family's takeover of the club. Having admitted on MUTV in September it was likely to be his last season, in October he vented his spleen on the in-house channel again - only this time it wasn't broadcast.

Keane was once his master's voice on the pitch

Keane had "played the pundit" for the team's 4-1 defeat at Middlesbrough, which he didn't play in due to injury. Steve Bower, presenting the programme, later admitted he knew that "two minutes in, this would never be shown". The club captain criticised starters Rio Ferdinand, Kieran Richardson, Alan Smith, John O'Shea and Darren Fletcher for their roles in one of Ferguson's most humiliating defeats. In under a month, Keane had gone and United had moved on. Eventually, for the better.


150 goals in five years were not enough to salvage Van Nistelrooy's United career. A lifeless performance against Liverpool in the fifth-round of the 2006 FA Cup compelled Ferguson to drop the Dutchman for the following week's League Cup final against Wigan. Louis Saha, who had scored in every match of the competition he had played in, replaced Van Nistelrooy and netted once in a 4-0 win. Van Nistelrooy's mood as he warmed up was buoyant until three players entered the fray ahead of him. Two of them - Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidić - had been at the club for just a month or, as Van Nistelrooy later sarcastically said, "five minutes".

Van Nistelrooy was United's best goalscorer since Denis Law

Van Nistelrooy scored just twice more for United as Saha was often preferred over him in the run-in, complementing Wayne Rooney better. Then in training Van Nistelrooy had an argument with Cristiano Ronaldo, advising the Portuguese to "go crying to your daddy" - meaning assistant manager Carlos Queiroz. Ronaldo took the statement literally and allegedly broke into tears since his father had died eight months previously. Van Nistelrooy was dropped from the United squad altogether for the final game of the season, drove away from the ground and his Reds future. He also signed for Real Madrid.