Brian Kidd has made it clear he holds no grudge against Sir Alex Ferguson and that there is no lingering animosity on his part towards the man he still refers to as “the boss,” regardless of the perceived conflict that has come to symbolize their relationship.
Ferguson’s stinging assessment of his former colleague — Kidd was high on the list of acquaintances and allies who were subjected to lacerating judgments in the Manchester United manager’s autobiography — has promoted the belief over the past decade that a rift exists between the two men.
Kidd, now Manchester City’s assistant manager preparing for today’s derby at Old Trafford, has maintained a diplomatic silence for almost all of that time but, as he offered a rare insight into his feelings on the matter, there was not a trace of bitterness. Instead, his words revealed a man who felt heavily indebted to Ferguson.
“I’ve never even talked about it with him because I don’t think there’s ever been a cause to. And I will always appreciate what he’s done for me. You can’t buy those wonderful memories,” he said.
Kidd’s respectful words are in stark contrast to Ferguson’s attack on the man who was at his side when United ended their 26-year wait for the league title in 1993 and who was instrumental in the development of the golden generation of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers.
Ferguson’s book depicted Kidd as a “complex person, often quite insecure”, adding that the boardroom viewed him as someone “with a natural inclination to complain.”
He wrote of Kidd allegedly going behind his back to air grievances about training, of his No. 2 wanting to sign John Hartson rather than Dwight Yorke and, while recognizing him as “an outstanding coach,” he also expressed reservations about whether Kidd was cut out to manage a top club.
Kidd, who after seven years at Ferguson’s side had left Old Trafford at the time of its publication to manage Blackburn Rovers, was undoubtedly hurt by the claims, saying at the time that Walt Disney should “buy the film rights to this book as a sequel to Fantasia.”
Thirteen years on, he said the controversy had never made him feel uncomfortable about returning to Old Trafford.
He also seemed to indicate that perhaps Ferguson’s views of him had been misconstrued.
“I’ve done it a million times — and you might have done it in your job — where we could be having a drink, you say something and I say something, and by the time it’s repeated three or four times it’s nothing like what’s actually been said. So I’ll give the benefit of the doubt [in terms of what Ferguson said]. I’ll say: ‘Hang on.’”
That may seem generous in the extreme given that Ferguson presumably read the transcript before authorizing the ghost-written book, but Kidd continued: “I’m relaxed about it all. As I say, I know how I feel; that’s all I can say. Other people might feel differently.”