Home » Former Man United assistant Archie Knox on why club ethos must remain

Former Man United assistant Archie Knox on why club ethos must remain

Ferguson and his assistant like “two bad cops”, says ex number two

by Paul Speller

Former Manchester United assistant manager, Archie Knox, has spoken candidly about how he and Sir Alex Ferguson were like two “bad cops” during their time spent working together.

Knox, who also worked under Ferguson at Aberdeen, has talked about their time at United as well as north of the border.

While describing their close partnership in an interview with The Telegraph, the Scotsman alluded to the same treatment of players being required this coming season.

After spending many years working under Fergie, the now 75 year old has explained how he was instrumental in setting ground rules when the pair joined United in 1986.

Knox followed Ferguson to Old Trafford after a hugely successful spell at Aberdeen, and was quickly faced with a team of huge personalities including Norman Whiteside, Paul McGrath and Gordon Strachan, not to mention United and England’s captain marvel, Bryan Robson.

But with a distinct lack of effort on the training pitch, the two Scotsmen quickly got to work in putting together a regime that left United’s players with no doubt who was in charge.

While Ferguson got to work as The Reds new “emperor”, he entrusted his number two, who fast became his “field general”.

As Knox recalls, early training sessions with United’s stars weren’t immediately successful, or well received.

Reminiscing about the time when skipper Robson questioned Knox’s decision to bring the whole team back for a second round of training after being disgusted with the morning’s session, Ferguson backed his assistant all the way.

“If Archie said get back for two-o-clock, be back for two-o-clock. End of story” said the manager.

And as new Old Trafford boss Erik ten Hag begins what is being heralded as a new culture within the club, Knox also explains how the ethos must remain the same.

“At the end of that session I had just booted the balls away and said to Bryan, “I am not f—————— having this, right. This can’t be Manchester United’s training.”

“I knew that Alex would respond that way. We would never be one up against the other”.

“Alex always said that in our case it was ‘two bad cops’, says Knox, chuckling. “If Alex gave them stick I certainly wouldn’t be putting an arm on their shoulder! If you lay the ground rules from the start, the players respond”.

And so began four years of paving the way for success, albeit largely missed out on by Knox himself.

After winning the FA cup in 1990, he was lured back north to Scotland, Walter Smith enticing him to Rangers, where he enjoyed more of the successes that his loyalty deserved.

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