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Alex Ferguson admits Leeds ‘frightening’ rivalry with Man Utd scared him the most

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has opened up on several ‘frightening’ encounters he had with Leeds fans during his time as the Red Devils’ boss.

As the two sides prepare to meet in the Premier League this Sunday, Ferguson has no doubts that the War of the Roses rivalry was the fiercest he came across during his managerial career.

The first taste of this came during his first season in charge when he visited Elland Road to take in Leeds game against Crystal Palace in the old first division.

“It all started when me and my assistant Archie Knox were finding our seats and I was called a ‘Manc b*****d’ by an angry supporter,” Ferguson explained.

“I looked for a steward. The directors’ box at Elland Road is small and the fans are all around you. Palace went to the other end and scored. That’s when the crowd really lost it.

“Archie wanted us to leave, but I insisted we stay. Palace scored again and that’s when our new friend hit me in the back with a Bovril cup. The abuse was astonishing. ‘Let’s get out of here,’ I said to Archie.”

Fast forward 25 years and things didn’t get much better as Ferguson’s team travelled to Elland Road for a League Cup tie in 2011.

Despite Leeds struggling in the lower leagues the rivalry showed no signs of letting up, with the Man Utd team bus forced into a detour after a harrowing experience prior to the game.

“We had a lot of problems outside the hotel,” Ferguson said at the time. “I don’t know how many hundreds of them there were, but it was like the film Zulu.

“The police were fantastic, though. It was frightening. There were seven police vans around the hotel protecting the team.

“I don’t understand it between Leeds and Manchester United. But it’s there and it’s not nice.

“Liverpool-Manchester United games, as we have said before, have always been fierce in many aspects and sometimes supporters can play a bad part in particular games. But it never reaches the levels of Leeds versus United. It’s just modern society I suppose.”

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