The Manchester United football club is one of the few great teams that are
household names across the globe. For more than a quarter-century, under Sir Alex
Ferguson, United was unstoppable. They 26 fear. Everyone knew the last 20
minutes in any match at Old Trafford would be torment under a red-shirted siege. During
his 26 seasons as manager, United won English title 13 times, the UEFA Champions
Leagues (most coveted of 27 ) twice, as well as lesser trophies.
Then, at the end of last season, Sir Alex retired, with a total of 49 trophies in 39
years as a football manager. David Moyes, another Scot, took over at United. The players
were the same. United still had the resources needed to triumph in the modern game. The
ground was the same, the support as 28 .
Yet the ground had shifted. The aura was gone. The fierce cohesion was gone. The
fear factor was gone. Those red shirts, somehow 29 , did not look quite the same.
United, suddenly, was beatable.
What happened? Harvard Business School seems determined to find out. It
announced this month that it had hired Sir Alex to a teaching post in executive education.
In a sense the decision is a risky one. Political correctness is not really Sir Alex’s thing.
He will 30 feathers. But he will also inspire students because he has an intangible
quality, leadership—the 31 of inspiration, authority, will, charisma, organization,
understanding, creativity and example that inspires a group of people to create something
larger than themselves.
He was a very bad loser. Anger 32 beneath the surface, controlled most of
the time. He was able to channel it, make virtues of his vices, provide discipline and
instill an almost 33 will. Humor offset harshness. He recognized genius in his
great players, and the 34 required for it, but was also to draw a line when needed.
His antennae for a slight decline in form, for the moment to discard a player, were
35 . Nobody excelled in succession management like Sir Alex—in every position,
that is, except his own.
(E) undying (AB). uncanny (AC). staple (AD). pinker
(AE). indivisible (BC). struck (BD). latitude (BE). quandary
(CD). ruffle (CE). exhibited (DE). diabolical