The bizarre origin of Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous chewing gum habit unearthed

Sir Alex Ferguson was famed for chomping down on a piece of chewing gum during his time as Man Utd manager

Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay nowSimon Mullock recalls favourite Sir Alex Ferguson storyByMike WaltersSports writer

  • 19:00, 13 Oct 2021
  • Updated20:22, 13 Oct 2021

Sir Alex Ferguson became a ferocious gum-chewer on the advice of former Manchester United physio Jim McGregor – to help soothe his nervous cough.


McGregor offered to prescribe medicine for Fergie's cough the night before his first game in charge of United at Oxford 25 years ago.

Ferguson refused, saying it was “just something I do,” but McGregor revealed: “He started chewing gum during games on my advice.

“The coughing would start during the match, so after a time I plucked up the courage to suggest he should take some chewing gum. 'What do I want f****** chewing gum for?', he retorted.

“He also liked the odd spit, so I thought chewing gum would kill two birds with one stone. Eventually he accepted some chewing gum and that became a tradition during future matches

Sir Alex Ferguson was famous for chewing gum on the touchline

ANDREW YATES/AFP via Getty Images)

“He also ended our custom, started by his predecessor Big Ron (Atkinson), of allowing the coach driver Derek Sutton to sit with us in the dugout at away games.

“Sooty, as he was known, plonked himself on a dugout seat at Oxford’s Manor Ground to be met by a Fergie stare followed by, 'Who the f*** are you?'

“Safe to say that was the last time Derek got anywhere near the dugout again.”

Fergie Under The Hairdryer by John Richardson, published by Reach Sport, is available from Amazon

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