Interview with Mike Phelan: Inside Man United's Coaching Staff + Keys to Being an Assistant Manager
Updated: Jan 21, 2019
Today our guest is Consulting Sporting Director of the Central Coast Mariners, Mike Phelan.
Phelan is most well-known for being an assistant manager and first team coach at Manchester United from 1999-2013 under Sir Alex Ferguson. While he was with the club as a coach he won every trophy you can win.
However, many may not know that before he became a successful coach he was a very accomplished player as well. In his 17 year career he played right-back and midfielder for Burnley, Norwich, Manchester United and West Bromwich. Fun fact, he won every domestic trophy with Man United as a player and as a coach. You know how many United players have done that? None.
Phelan is also the Chairman of Sensible Soccer Limited, which provides football equipment, coaching and education across grassroots clubs, private individuals, universities and academies.
In this episode he'll talk about a wild safari experience with United, creating a good culture amongst the staff at United, the importance of humor in regards to Sir Alex, keys to being a good assistant manager and the role of sporting director now and how they approached it while he was at United.
6:35 The role of sporting director
13:20 Handling rumors
20:39 Playing street football as a kid in the 70s
27:09 Keys to be a good assistant
33:28 Bringing humor to the coaching staff
39:29 His favorite player to coach 1-to-1
"He [Sir Alex Ferguson] was a forever changing manager."
"I think in the main we were all sporting directors at Manchester United when we were successful..."
"Well there are instances where rumour and rumour always create rumour. And in Manchester United case there is a rumour just around the corner"
Yeah I probably did get away with one or two things that probably most people wouldn’t do [with Sir Alex]. But it was all a part of my role.
"So yes I did get away with it and I grew my beard once which was probably the only one that were allowed to grow a beard - and still to this day I can't believe he never told me to get rid of it, because he told everybody else to get their haircut and make sure they are clean shaven."