Update: The full interview can be viewed below.
Sir Alex Ferguson was interviewed by Charlie Rose on PBS last night, with the former Manchester United manager speaking about Wayne Rooney, the Glazers and his fascination with the American Civil War...naturally...as well as explaining why Pele is his favourite player.
Ferguson also revealed that he has no interest in returning to management (John Delaney will be disappointed) and revealed that he turned down an approach by Roman Abramovich for the Chelsea job 10 years ago, before Jose Mourinho was chosen.
When asked about what happened between him and Wayne Rooney, Ferguson said there was no issue and said Wayne is unfortunate because he is England's "big white hope".
We've selected a few highlights from the hour long interview, as transcribed by Red News and the Daily Mail.
On Wayne Rooney:
CR: What happened to you and Wayne Rooney?
AF: Well, I don’t think anything really happened -
CR: Really? Really?
AF: - that I would get upset about. He came in the day after the (inaudible) and it’s just an expectation thing again. I manage a team who I see, but at that particular moment it wasn’t doing particularly well. But now we see him today, he’s got his energy back. And he’s doing great. So maybe that was a good timing for the boy, you know.
CR: But you thought of him - didn’t you think of him as a son in a way.
AF: Well, he came as a 17-year-old boy and of course, all the (inaudible) will support him and look after him. Do our best to make him better. And there were some great moments.
CR: But did it end badly.
AF: No, I don’t think so. I think if Wayne walked in here today, he would shake my hand. I don’t think -
CR: When was the last time you shook his hand?
AF: The day we won the league. When he was presented with the cup was the last time. You see you've got to also look at the media. What’s unfortunate in this (inaudible) is anyone’s big white hope internationally he’s a big white hope. So therefore the media’s always centered around Wayne.
On David Beckham:
CR: And then there was a fellow named David Beckham.
AF: David, yes - amazing boy. I mean how he’s created himself. He’s (inaudible) conquering young people, it’s fantastic. I mean he’s a wonderful boy.
CR: How did he do that?
AF: Well, he always had a lovely smile, you know, and he always presents himself well. But as a young kid when I got him at 12 years of age, his great desire was to do the best. He was a fantastic trainer, practiced all the time and at night he would come back with the school boys and practice with them.
And he was in that collection along with Giggs and Scholes. And then of course his life changed when he married the girl from -
CR: Spice Girls.
AF: Yes. And his focus changed.
CR: What did it become?
AF: Well, he got drawn into that celebrity status, you know. For me I’m a football man. I’m a football man. It wasn’t my --
CR: So you had to go to David and say -
AF: Yes, he has to focus. And so they’ll be trying to -
CR: So what did you do? I mean did you go - tell me what you said to him when you believed that he was becoming more interested in celebrity than football?
AF: I just think he’s over his head. I don’t think he could listen. I always remember in the (inaudible) he says "I’m in love" and there was nothing you can do with that, you know. And therefore he lost the focus. But I saw them in Real, Madrid. He did well.
The thing I couldn’t believe - (inaudible) - I couldn’t believe that. I couldn’t understand that. I would never have allowed him to do that, you know. He was going to make sure he went to the best and Real Madrid was the best outside United. And he reinvented himself, of course, and plays for the English team after a couple of years. He goes and plays for Milan. And well done. You can’t argue with the status he has in life.
On the Glazers:
CR: When the Glazer family first got involved, it was 1995, was it?
CR: What did it change?
AF: It changed nothing, Charlie.
AF: No, no. The thing that -- (inaudible) -- there is a misconception about the Glazers buying the club that created hostility and different factions of Manchester United supporters and because a single member was owning the club. You forget, the minute it became a PLC someone was going to buy it. Somewhere along the line someone’s going to buy that club.
The Glazers did buy it. And in my time with them - they were nothing but supportive - very strong, single-minded people but always supportive of the manager and the things that happen in the club. They’ve been very good. And I’ve absolutely no hesitation in supporting the way they’re going about the job - very low key - never give me a phone call. No phone from the chief executive or maybe once a week to go over the various things about the club but never the team.