Fergie's Officially Worst Buy Ever: Ralph Milne
Sir Alex is a legend, a genius of a manager who did very few things wrong during his tenure at Manchester United. He pulled off many transfer coups but none of us can pretend that he never made mistakes - and some of those mistakes seem hilarious now.
Massimo Taibi, Liam Miller or David Bellion: these names bring a smile to our face now, even though back then it had been horrible to know they had represented the 'depth' of the squad. And neither of them is Fergie's worst ever signing - that, according to the boss himself, is a certain Ralph Milne.
'My worst signing? Ralph Milne. I only paid £170,000 but I still get condemned for it.'
In his autobiography, Fergie defended the acquisition of his compatriot, noting that Milne was a 'hell of a winger' with Dundee United but Old Trafford was too much for him. In hindsight, we can perhaps say that Milne is more like a symbol than an actual transfer disaster: as Sir Alex said, he had not paid much for him and he had been sold on soon enough.
But his name will be preserved in the United folklore forever, as the synonym of a bad buy as he was Fergie's first spectacularly awful signing. Veron, for example, was a much bigger disaster (breaking up the best midfield ever seen in England for him? Come on!) but he's not a symbol. Milne is a symbol of that first, quite bleak period of the Fergie era, when it was difficult to foresee the glory that was about to arrive.
In accordance with this, it's no surprise that he gave an honorable mention to Eric Djemba-Djemba: the Cameroon man is the symbol of the other dark period of this era, that between 2003 and 2006. So good they named him twice, indeed.
(Fergie was speaking at a League Managers' Association dinner)
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