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'You f*cking chancer' | Clive...
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'You f*cking chancer' | Clive Tyldesley on Fergie's 'hairdryer' treatment

Mario Bowden
Mario Bowden

14:22 7 Apr 2021

We tend to think that it was only overpaid footballers who were on the other end of the infamous and feared 'hairdryer' treatment from former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. 

But, speaking with Eoin Sheahan on OTB AM on Wednesday morning, legendary ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley discussed that everyone was susceptible to an ear-load from Sir Alex. Including himself.

Voice of football 

Tyldesley has been living and breathing football since he could walk and talk. Despite living moments away from Gigg Lane in Bury, Manchester United was always the big team around town.

"My dad was Manchester United fan through the Busby Babes era in the 50s. So from a very early age, he was taking me to home games in Old Trafford," says Tyldesley.

His Man United allegiance was left aside, Tyldesley explains, when he moved to Nottingham for university – and into a radio career at the age of 21.

"I started to cover Nottingham Forest home and away for a commercial radio station. I was spending my time with the players who were the same age as me. They were my mates. And suddenly because I was watching my mates play, I kinda supported them really." Tyldesley admits.

Relationship with Sir Alex 

Tydlsley has always had a good relationship with Ferguson. In fact, he told OTB AM how he would often meet and be entrusted with the team news before games – something of a rarity nowadays between the football and media world.

"The biggest change I have seen is in football's relationship with the media from when I started. It isn't a relationship really. It's more a marriage of convenience." Tyldesley bluntly puts it.

"It was difficult enough when you were in the confidence of Sir Alex Ferguson – and two or three of us would meet him in in Old Trafford at four o'clock, on the day of a Champions League night."

"He would tell us his team and tell us why he chose that team. He would trust with the fact that Roy Keane has picked up a calf injury in training this morning, that he's leaving Beckham out or playing Giggs in centre-midfield."

Tyldesley hairdryer treatment experience

Ferguson however was a man who wasn't afraid to lash out at those around him. While Tyldesley clearly has huge admiration for the Scotsman, he has seen his wrath on more than one occasion. One that he will never forget, is the 'rollicking' he received in a hotel in Port Olimpic, in Barcelona.

Manchester United were in town to play Barcelona in a Champions League group stage match in the 98/99 season – later that season they would return to the Nou Camp to lift the trophy against Bayern Munich in dramatic fashion.

Tyldesley was on duty for ITV that evening – and the crew were staying in the same hotel as the Man United team.  The game finished 3-3.

"The great Hugh McIlvanney, a wonderful sportswriter who was close to Sir Alex Ferguson. Phil Neville was playing right-back at the time. And in his Sunday Times preview, He speculated that Fergie might bring Wes Brown into the team because he was playing against Rivaldo. Apart from being brilliant, he was also quite a big unit. So it was purely a height thing." Tyldesley explains.

"So I read between the lines of his piece and had put into my commentary chart and put Wes Brown and not Phil Neville on it," says Tyldesley

"I came home from the ITV pre-match dinner early because I was a good boy and wanted a goodnight's sleep," says Tyldesley. "And I just happened to get into the lift with Neville Neville, the father of Phil and Gary Neville"

"Our conversation only lasted however many floors we went up. But during it, he said to me that Phil's worried about not playing tomorrow. To which I responded if he doesn't play, it's because of the height difference."

That was the end of the conversation. But not the story.

"But Nev didn't go to bed. Nev phoned Phil and said 'Clive Tyldesley doesn't think you're playing either," Tyldesley continues. "So Phil told Gary. And Gary confronted Fergie saying 'Clive Tyldesley knows the team and we do not. Which wasn't quite the case."

Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson talks about his love of Horse Racing to Press Association's Phil Hay, at Manchester United's Carrington training ground, Manchester. 

Tyldesley and his colleague Bob Wilson came downstairs for lunch when Ferguson confronted the commentator about what was exchanged in the lift.

"I had one of the most famous and respected faces in the whole of European life, let alone football, balling at me from about five paces [away] in the foyer of a busy hotel," Tyldesley adds.

"[Afterwards] I was off the planet. I wasn't to be seen for the next couple of weeks. And I left without any chance to say that I had only read about it in The Sunday Times."

There was no apology from the United boss – not that Tyldesley seems to be expecting one anytime soon.

"The nature of Sir Alex of was that it went one of two ways. Either there was an omerta and you were cast off for the rest of your life. The BBC, Roy Keane, Mrs Beckham – you name it. [Thankfully] I was back on board within a few days as if it never happened."

There are more Fergie stories and other footballing anecdotes in Clive Tyldesley's new book "Not for me Clive" – which is available for pre-order and will be published in mid-May.

Download the brand new OTB Sports App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


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Clive Tydesley Gary Neville Hairdryer Treatment Manchester United Otbam Sir Alex Ferguson

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