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Former Manchester United Player Recalls Breaking Into Tears After Hairdryer Treatment

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Former Manchester United Player Recalls Breaking Into Tears After Hairdryer Treatment

Sir Alex Ferguson's hairdryer treatment became the thing of legend during his time as Manchester United manager, and he left one youngster making a rare Premier League start in tears.

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Ferguson was well known for letting players know if they weren't living up to the high standards that he, and the club, demanded of players at the time.

Not even young players were pardoned from the standards and were expected to get into the first team and play as if they belonged there.

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It was something Danny Simpson found out the hard way, when he was given a start in the league against Everton in 2007, but only last 45 minutes.

"It was one of my first games against Everton, and it was about an hour and half before kick-off. He was like, ‘Danny, you’re playing’, and I was like, ‘s**t, I’m not ready for this,'" Simpson told the 'On the Judy' podcast.

Simpson didn't have too many appearances at United. Image: PA Images
Simpson didn't have too many appearances at United. Image: PA Images

Simpson was up against Tim Cahill and Steven Pienaar in a game against a Toffees side who went into the match on a 13 game unbeaten run, and it didn't take long for the two forwards to combine.

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"Sir Alex says one thing: ‘stop crosses’... then 20 minutes in, they’ve crossed it, Cahill header, [and we’re] 1-0 down.

"And the next 20 minutes my head was gone, I was awful. I can’t even look at the performance back."

The right back then explained that Ferguson was in his face during the half time break and he was replaced by John O'Shea when the team went back out.

It left the young full back in tears in the changing room. "So I’m sat in the dressing room, the whole second half, and I’m in tears…

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"The lads came over when he finished his speech, and y’know the little pat on the head? as if to say, ‘we’ve all been there’, and that’s what got to me even more."

Cahill celebrates his goal at Old Trafford. Image: PA Images
Cahill celebrates his goal at Old Trafford. Image: PA Images

United had taken the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo, scoring from long range after just 22 minutes, but just five minutes later Cahill had equalised.

Simpson's mistake may have cost Fergie's side a win but with just minutes remaining Ryan Giggs was fouled in the box by Pienaar and Ronaldo made it 2-1 from the box, saving United 14 years ago as he still does now.

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"Looking back, imagine Man United lose at home to Everton. I didn’t realise at the time, that’s a big three points," Simpson added.

"And that’s on his shoulders if they lose and put a kid in, and he’s trusted me. Now that you get older you realise that if you’d lost those three points that could have had a big detrimental effect on them winning a league title."

Ronaldo slots home the winning penalty. Image: PA Images
Ronaldo slots home the winning penalty. Image: PA Images

Ultimately Ronaldo's winning goal in the dying minutes did make a difference, as United went on to beat Chelsea to the title by just two points.

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Simpson played a total of eight games that season, in all competitions, before eventually being let go by the club in 2010, moving to Newcastle United.

In 2014 he moved to Leicester City and there he won the most unlikely of Premier League titles, perhaps spurred on by a fear of failure screamed into him by his former boss.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, Premier League

Ryan Sidle
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