Tuesday, March 11, 2008

today: Win at all costs.

You can't really argue with Sir Alex Ferguson's credentials as a winning football manager. He reels the trophies in with almost easy regularity. But his outburst this weekend upon losing to Portsmouth showed the world in stark relief why he is despised so much. He seems incapable of grace.

There is an alarming tendency to fete 'winners' - be it in business, politics or sport. There are those who applaud the winners who stamp on their opposition, cheat, lie and treat others badly. I would suggest that anyone can be a winner if they find their niche. But win-at-all-costs? Is it worth it? For Ferguson, this means being so one eyed about referees that he is more than happy to question their integrity. With other teams it is to viciously accuse them of cheating and never concede they may have won fairly and squarely. With journalists it is to answer any criticism with wrathful outbursts of bile and sulking.

In short, whilst reeling in those trophies, he comes across as an unpleasant, bitter man. People respect his achievements in football but are increasingly turned off by his relentless nastiness.

It is only natural to be disappointed by failure. It is okay to be ambitious and exacting. But when this comes with behaving like a cry-baby and a bully it is simply not acceptable.

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