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Fergie's 'darkest period'

At the start of 1990, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson (long before he was made a Knight of the Realm) was in trouble and his side were struggling at the wrong end of the Division One table. A run of eight games without a win saw the once-great Red Devils staring relegation in the face. The accepted story is that Ferguson would have been sacked if they had been knocked out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forest on January 7. The game proved to be a reprieve from those calling for his head, but - possibly until the recent 6-1 hammering by rivals Man City - the time remains by his own admission his 'darkest period' as a manager.

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