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Sir Alex Ferguson Once Found Out The Champions League Draw In The Middle Of An Interview

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Sir Alex Ferguson Once Found Out The Champions League Draw In The Middle Of An Interview

The Champions League draw tends to drag on these days, but back in 1994 not even Sir Alex Ferguson had to attend the show.

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Every season, particularly ahead of the group stage of the continent's biggest club competition, we settle in to see which teams will come up against each other in the Champions League, only to wait ages for the action.

How many times have you asked yourself, or someone else, 'when does the draw ACTUALLY start?' as Pedro Pinto cues up the latest video package or invites a guest on stage to hand out an award.

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However it certainly wasn't always this way, and back in the past not even the managers were sitting through the ceremony, never mind the fans watching on tv.

A video from 1994 shows how then Manchester United boss Fergie found out who is team were set to face, and it's quite incredible.

In the middle of an interview, the interviewer, not Sir Alex, gets a phone call and as he reads out the teams, the United boss scribbles them down and then chases Steve Bruce at training to let the centre back know the outcome.

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The 94/95 edition of the competition was the first with 16 teams in the group stage, previous it had been a knockout tournament up until the final eight.

The four groups had two seeded teams and two teams who came through the two legged qualifying ties.

United were paired with Barcelona as the other seeded side whilst Galatasaray got past Avenir Beggen, the side from Luxembourg Fergie hadn't heard of, and IFK Gothenburg beat Sparta Prague to qualify.

The then defending Premier League champions, it was a competition just for champions back then, didn't do well at all in the Champions League that season, going out on goal difference in the group stage.

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Nicky Butt and Pep Guardiola tangle during a 4-0 win to Barcelona. Image: PA Images
Nicky Butt and Pep Guardiola tangle during a 4-0 win to Barcelona. Image: PA Images

United struggled in the early years of the Champions League due to a rule that limited clubs to just four foreign players in their matchday squads.

It was particularly tough for English clubs, with Scottish, Welsh and Irish players counting as foreign players as well.

Premier League sides started to do better when the rule was removed and United were the first English side to win the competition under its new name in 1999.

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United had Barcelona in their group that year too, they eventually beat Juventus in an incredible semi-final before their famous final with Bayern Munich, also a group stage opponent, at the Nou Camp to complete The Treble.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter

Topics: Football, Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, Barcelona, Premier League, Champions League, La Liga

Ryan Sidle
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