Headteacher told Sir Alex he wasn’t good enough for uni


A HEADTEACHER’S harsh judgment of Sir Alex Ferguson helped create one of the most successful football managers in the history of football.

The former Manchester United manager was told by his secondary school headmaster that his grades were not good enough for university.

The 73-year-old said he used to spend all of his time at Govan High School playing football instead of focusing on other subjects.

He revealed that his headmaster stopped any chance of him going to university when he told him his grades in Maths and English were not good enough to pursue further education.

And it could have been the best advice Sir Alex has ever received, going on to carve such a successful career in the football industry.

(Pic: Andrea Sartorati)
(Pic: Andrea Sartorati)

Sir Alex believes the comments were made because he stood as the captain of the school football team and his main focus was football.

Instead of going to university, he left school with no qualifications and became a toolmaker.

At 16-years-old he became a striker at Queens Park before signing to numerous football clubs including St. Johnstone, Dunfermline and Rangers.

Speaking to students at Glasgow Caledonian University, she said: “When I was at Govan High School my headmaster called me into his office one Friday and told me: ‘Look. You are not going to make it to university. Your maths and English just aren’t good enough.’

“He did that because I was captain of the school team and I was spending my time playing football. Because of what he said, I left school and became a toolmaker.”

“He did me the honour of telling me to my face. I appreciate what he did.”

Sir Alex spoke at the university on Tuesday, also announcing that he would be making a sizable donation.


The £500,000 Sir Alex Ferguson Scholarship and Awards fund will give over 200 people from low income families the opportunity to pursue courses at the university.

Sir Alex was inspired to make the generous donation after seeing how proud his close friend and Welsh philanthropist, Sir Michael Moritz was after donating £32 million to Oxford University in 2008.

He then went on to donate a further £75 million to his former university in 2012.

Sir Alex said: “I have seen how proud he is at his work with Oxford University and that motivated me into giving something back to my hometown.

“It was a difficult decision to select the most suitable platform for this but I feel I have chosen well in Glasgow Caledonian University. I hope that together we can make a difference.”

Sir Alex began his football managing career at the age of 32, going on achieve 26 successful years managing Manchester United.

This made him the longest serving manager at the club before he announced his retirement in 2013.

Many other successful figures have made their fortunes without the help of a university degree.

Scottish entrepreneur and former Dragons Den judge Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 with no qualifications. He joined the Royal Navy for several years before being dishonorably discharged for throwing an officer overboard in Scotland. He then began his business empire – starting with a £450 ice cream truck – and is now estimated to be worth around £175m.

Billionaire Sir Richard Branson shunned the idea of further education and instead started his own magazine, Student at the age of 16. A few years later he set up a mail-order record company before opening a chain of Virgin Records. The Virgin brand now consists of more than 400 companies.

And lingerie tycoon, Michelle Mone left school at 15 with no qualification to become a model. She then left the industry after becoming pregnant with her first child. In 1996 she created underwear brand, Ultimo resulting in her being worth an estimated £20m. She recently quit the board of Ultimo for a post as a business adviser to David Cameron and a seat in the House of Lords.