Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson’s fondness for vintage red wine is well known. As is his willingness to share a glass or two with opposition managers in the aftermath of victory or defeat at Old Trafford, and the Scot light-heartedly admitted his tipple of choice was more than a welcome companion during the summer, as the Red Devils’ nursed their chastening Premier League title loss to bitter rivals Manchester City.
United conceded the league despite securing victory at Sunderland after Roberto Mancini’s men famously produced a thrilling late fightback against Queens Park Rangers to snatch the Premier League title from under Ferguson’s ruddy nose.
British football’s most decorated manager has subsequently admitted he turned to drink to soothe his pain.
“Red Wine helps,” The Manchester United manager joked during Thursday’s press conference to unveil the club’s latest additions, Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell.
Fans of wine or indeed Manchester United perhaps shouldn’t be surprised by Ferguson’s jovial admission.
The 70-year-old has never shied away from his partiality to a drop of vintage red wine. Last year the Manchester United supremo articulated his preferences to an Italian newspaper, intimating Old World wines are still champion for his seasoned palate.
Ferguson told Gazzetta dello Sport: “The best French wines are still the best in the world, but Italy has some fantastic ones.
“I am a fan of Tignanello Antinori, also Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Brunello di Montalcino. I prefer the Tuscan wines, but I also appreciate those from Piedmont.
"The rest of the world also has some fabulous wines, in Australia [Shiraz Penfolds Grange], Chile [Concha Y Toro Don Melchor], Argentina [Malbec], Napa Valley [Screaming Eagle].”
Ferguson’s love of wine has even infiltrated the Manchester United brand. In September last year, the Red Devils announced a three-year sponsorship deal with Chile’s biggest wine producer, Concha y Toro
At the unveiling of the relationship
, Ferguson’s famed penchant for Claret was palpable.
“There are many similarities between wine and football.” The philosophical Glaswegian enthused. “In football we seek the best young players to develop and form them from their beginnings to making them outstanding Manchester United players. I have seen a similarity with Concha y Toro, which seeks to harvest the best grapes, produce the best wines and have the patience and intelligence to ensure that the end result is perfect.
“Viña Concha y Toro shares these qualities with Manchester United.”
Whether or not you agree with Ferguson’s sentiments, the subsequent advertisement to promote the commercial partnership was memorable only for the wooden performances of some of Manchester United’s finest players…
Giggs, Rooney et al, great footballers you maybe, but please stick to the day job.