Scunthorpe United manager Russ Wilcox was presented with the LMA Special Merit Award at Monday night’s awards ceremony, although the honour of being welcomed onto the stage by Sir Alex Ferguson was dampened after the former Manchester United manager referred to him as “Bruce” throughout his speech.
Wilcox was recognised for his incredible start to his Scunthorpe career having taken charge of the side in November last year, with United going on a 28-match unbeaten run from his very first game to break the previous British record for a manager’s first spell in charge of a Football League club.
The defeat to Exeter on April 27 brought that run to an end, but Wilcox had already surpassed the 125-year record set by Preston North End’s William Sudell in 1888-89, which was in fact the inaugural season of the Football League. He also secured promotion to League One at the first time of asking, having achieved the feat with the same club as a player, assistant manager and now a manager.
And in what was meant to be a nice touch to the presentation, the most successful manager in British football history would welcome Wilcox to the stage, only for Ferguson to call him “Bruce Wilcox” repeatedly, as The Independent's Sam Wallace reported.
Sir Alex Ferguson presents 'LMA special merit award' to Russ Wilcox, referring to him as 'Bruce' throughout his speech; Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) May 12, 2014
Russ Wilcox: 'Fantastic research by Sir Alex but my name's Russ, not Bruce'; Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) May 12, 2014
However, all was soon forgotten as Wilcox accepted his award, but not before correcting the Scot on a rare mistake. “Fantastic research by Sir Alex but my name’s Russ, not Bruce,” said Wilcox, much to the humour of those in attendance.
The Special Merit Award is given to someone who has demonstrated exceptional personal achievement during the season, with a panel of managers nominating the eventual winner.
“It’s amazing, but you always have to be ready in football. I was ready,” Wilcox told the Telegraph, prior to the award ceremony.
“It’s been an amazing year, and I look back with so much pride to know I’ve achieved promotion as a player, assistant manager and manager at the same football club.”
Of course, it is not the first mistake Ferguson made this season, as the appointment of David Moyes as his successor proved to be a poor choice as United finished outside the European qualification positions in the Premier League for the first time since 1990, with Moyes paying the price as he was sacked in April.
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