Dieses Interview wurde auf CNN durchgeführt und steht nur in englischer Sprache zur Verfügung. Die Highlights dieses Interviews findet Ihr hier auf Deutsch.
Über das Timing des Rücktritts:
„Ich bin schockiert…ich bin enttäuscht. Wir wussten, dass es einmal soweit sein wird, aber ich denke niemand hat damit gerechnet, dass es so früh passiert. Das Timing ist komisch und ich kann mir keinen Reim darauf machen.“
Über die Entscheidung:
„Er wird sicherlich mit seiner Familie und seinen engsten Freunden darüber gesprochen haben… Aber wie ich schon sagte, es steckt etwas dahinter, wovon wir nichts wissen.“
Über Sir Alex Ferguson:
„Er ist der beste Manager der Welt und er ist auch ein toller Typ und ein wirklich guter Freund.“
Über Sir Alex Fergusons Manager-Qualitäten:
„Ja, er kann hart und schwierig sein. Aber wenn man mit jungen Spielern zusammenarbeitet, die noch keine Berufserfahrungen gesammelt haben und auf einmal viel Geld verdienen, muss man auch mal hart zu ihnen sein. Manchmal muss er die Spieler zügeln und wird in einer gewissen Weise zum zweiten Vater.“
Alex Thomas: Is this a sad day or is it a happy day to rejoice at what he achieved at United?
Peter Schmeichel: Good morning, Alex. I’m telling you. It is a sad day. I’m.. I’m shocked. I’m sad… I’m disappointed. It’s a day, I think, everyone who loves Manchester United, everyone who has worked with Alex… It’s a day that we have been expecting, but I have to be completely honest, I didn’t think that was now. I thought that was a couple of years down the line. So, I assume there’s something out there that we don’t know. Because it’s the timing. You mentioned the timing, it’s kind of weird. I’m trying to make sense of it this morning, but you know, I’ve come… I can’t come to a conclusion. I can’t make sense of it.
Alex Thomas: Is that typical of Sir Alex then, that he kept someone like you guessing as much as the rest of us?
Peter Schmeichel: Not really, I mean, obviously, he’s been holding that position for so many years and he knows whenever he’s making big decisions like signing players or letting players go… it’s important that it’s kept under wrapped for as long as possible, because I mean you only have to look at the media this morning… how the media has reacted to this. It’s big. Everything that Manchester United is doing, it’s big. It’s going worldwide and something as, you know, as big as his retirement, he would have spoken to his family, his very, very close friends. I’m sure he’s had a word with Edward Woodward and probably also the owners, about it, the Glazer family. But, as I say, there’s gotta be something out there that we are not aware of.
Alex Thomas: Yeah, there are all sorts of rumours, aren’t there, Peter? You don’t think after all this time that Alex has been forced out in any way, do you?
Peter Schmeichel: No no no no. Absolutely not. Oh no, no. No, I mean you have to remember that the club is going, on the commercial side and on the leadership side are going through some major, major changes this summer. David Gill is stepping down as CEO. Edward Woodward is taking over as CEO. There’s going to be changes to the directorship. A lot of people are going to have different positions next season. So that in itself is major, major for Manchester United to have that many changes in a short period of time. So to have a managerial change as well… no there’s no way that I can see that this is something they’ve asked him to do. He’s done tremendously well with the team. He’s built a team which will be playing together for the next five or six years, a lot of youth, there’s some experience in there beyond this talent, and I cannot see that the owners being unhappy with that. I mean come on! It’s Sir Alex Ferguson… You don’t ask for Alex Ferguson…
Alex Thomas [interrupts]: Yes, and we know of course he’s going to stay on as an ambassadorial role and he’s Manchester United through and through. We can’t see him leaving the club and that’s not going to happen. Peter, you talk about this big news. You’re absolutely right. I mean we’re doing rolling coverage on it right now on CNN International to 250 million households around the world. It wasn’t necessarily quite such big news when he took over back in 1986. Around then, when Manchester United was still a big name, but really had fallen on hard times on the pitch. Tell us a bit, obviously you weren’t there right from the beginning, but tell us a bit about what it is about Sir Alex Ferguson that made him drag Manchester United from being just a big name underachieving to the global sports brand that it is now.
Peter Schmeichel: Well, first of all, he has his philosophy. He knows exactly what he wants with his football teams and what he wanted with the club. Then his determination to actually put it into… to… to life if you like… He knew that he wanted to build the academy so he could produce players for the team. So he would… you know, the mentality, the skillset… the teamwork, if you like, the framework would have to go in at an early age and he did that. He produced a classical, the class of 92, with David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville. I mean all those players who became big, big Manchester United players, England players, big international stars. He built those, he created those players and he knew he was going to do that right from the moment that he stepped through the doors of Old Trafford in ’86, so his determination to carry that out as well. I mean he’s relentless. He never ever gives in. He knows exactly where he’s going and he’s so knowledgeable…
Alex Thomas [talks over]: What’s he like to work with?
Peter Schmeichel: …of every person he’s got in his command. Sorry?
Alex Thomas: What’s he like to work with?
Peter Schmeichel: He’s the best manager in the world and he’s the best guy as well. He’s a really good friend as well. The point about his knowledge of every player – he doesn’t manage players as a group, he manages players individually. So some players, you know, need a certain kind of treatment, an arm around the shoulder. Other players need to be pushed more. And he does that and he does it obviously. It’s not something that is hidden. We all know that we are being treated differently. But at the end of the day you accept that because the end result is that everybody plays very well for the team. You win football matches, eventually you win trophies. And he drives that, and yes he can be hard, he can be tough, but when you’re dealing with young players, who really haven’t got a lot of working experience in life, coming into a lot of money and all that, you need to be tough. There are times you really need to put your foot down and in a way he becomes your second dad. He’s a guy that educates you in life to prepare you for what’s after football. And he does all that. It’s not obvious. It’s not like he says ‘when you finish this is gonna happen’. But he prepares you, puts you in a frame of mind that makes you deal with really, really tough situations. And for me, the world has never ever seen a anyone like Sir Alex Ferguson, when he first came about and I don’t think anyone, anyone will ever get to that level.
Alex Thomas: Actually you talk about the world, because we’ve been reporting that he’s the most successful manager in English football, but tell us about his reputation… you know football is probably the only global sport – how is Sir Alex viewed outside of the UK?
Peter Schmeichel: I think that we will see this in the next coming days. I think that he’ll be recognised as the biggest manager ever. To hold the position at one of the biggest football clubs. We claim we are the biggest football club [laughs], but for argument’s sake let’s say one of the biggest. To hold that position for nearly 27 years. I mean that in itself is an achievement that’s never ever is gonna be made again, winning the treble in there and actually winning the first championship was a hurdle, a big big hurdle to come across. Winning the treble in ’99. Yes, it’s happened in other countries. In Spain, probably, most probably will happen in Germany this season, but no one has the FA Cup. This is what people really don’t understand. The FA Cup is as tough as the Champions League to win. It is. It’s just a very difficult competition to win. People don’t realise. So to win all three trophies in the 1990s. I mean that in itself shows how good a manager he is. I mean this guy, he’s at the top of the pack for sure. He’s completely unrivalled in my opinion.