Atkinson accuses Fergie over United drinking culture

Date published: Friday 16th September 2016 9:04

Ron Atkinson has accused Sir Alex Ferguson of exaggerating the drinking culture of the side he inherited at Manchester United.

Ferguson replaced Atkinson as United manager in 1986, with the former leaving Aberdeen to manage in England.

The legendary Scot has been extremely vocal about the team he took over, which Atkinson left in 19th place of Division One in November 1986.

In his autobiography, Ferguson criticised Atkinson for holding a leaving party just 48 hours before a league match, in a chapter entitled ‘Drinking to Failure’.

Ferguson also labelled the Old Trafford outfit as “almost as much of a social club as a football club” when he was appointed.

Atkinson has issued a response, writing the following in his own autobiography, ‘The Manager’, as quoted by The Independent.

‘Under me Manchester United were a team that were supposed to have drunk themselves into oblivion, usually at the Four Seasons Hotel by [Manchester] airport. That was a massive exaggeration. Alcohol was part of the temper of the times in English football and it was not confined to Manchester United.

‘I once joined Liverpool on a post-season tour to Israel and I could not believe the amounts of booze that team put away; even those you wouldn’t suspect were big drinkers, like [Alan] Hansen. Everton won two championships with Howard Kendall taking his team to Chinatown most Tuesday afternoons.’

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