Sir Alex was ‘way beyond his time’

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Sir Alex Ferguson’s 117 days in charge of East Stirlingshire puts the club in the annals of history, says his former player Bobby McCulley.

As the Manchester United manager rounds off a career that began coaching at Falkirk and in management at Firs Park this weekend, McCulley says what he experienced with Ferguson in 1974 was way beyond its’ time.

STIRLING. Stirling University. Falkirk FC training. Sir Alex Ferguson will meet Alex Totten and Steven Pressley and watch training before he gets doctorate.

STIRLING. Stirling University. Falkirk FC training. Sir Alex Ferguson will meet Alex Totten and Steven Pressley and watch training before he gets doctorate.

“He was only there six months but I believe we could’ve done quite well had he stayed. He was some man - the top man

“It is incredible for a little club like the Shire to be able to say they had him as a manager. That will never go away.

“It was great for me to be associated with him and to have been a part of his career.

“He has left a lasting impression on football. What we experienced at the Shire way back when he was manager, it was beyond his time.”

McCulley wasn’t surprised to see Sir Alex sign off on four-decades of coaching and management at the weekend either.

“He was the top man, at the top of the game, but even then, it can’t have been easy for him or his wife to be in that job for as long as he has been, even though he’s done such an incredible job.

“I’m happy he’s going out at the top - he’s immortal. When the news broke and his face was all over the television I feared the worst but then when I found out he was leaving to enjoy retirement, I was very happy. The man was different class.”

Ferguson took over the reigns at the Shire in June 1974 before switching to St Mirren, and was replaced by Ian Ure at Firs Park, having lifted the Shire above the Paisley club in the Division Two table.

Back then the Shire could only train on the pitch and he often wouldn’t turn on the floddlights when it got dark to save cash for the Shire.

“All we had was the pitch,” he told The Falkirk Herald in 2011. “So when I moved on, the next manager inherited a well drilled team, some good players - but a terrible pitch!”

Ferguson had begun his coaching at Falkirk, taking training sessions under Willie Cunningham, but a change ain the boardroom, and then in the manager’s office saw John Prentice come in – and Ferguson move out to complete his playing career at Ayr United’s Somerset Park.

But his influence at The Shire lived on a lot longer than the 117 days he lasted, and he was not the last Ferguson to occupy the Bainsford club’s hotseat – brother Martin was manager in the early 1980s before moving on and eventually joining his brother as a scout at Manchester United.

Listen to Sir Alex Ferguson reminisce on those early days with The Falkirk Herald by clicking the play button above.