According to Daniel Taylor in the Observer, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson defends his way with the press by saying: "Do ICI send an email to another biochemicals company telling them their new discoveries in drugs?" For Sir Alex, a Scot living and working in the north of England, ICI was a byword for most of his life and so he still reaches for it to make a point.
But ICI hasn’t existed for 7 years. Its demise was one of Britain’s greatest industrial tragedies. Of course, in a sense it lives on, because in 1993 ICI hived off its more successful pharmaceuticals division to form Zeneca. Zeneca is now a multinational giant having merged with the Swedish firm Astra in 1999 to form Astra-Zeneca.
Astra-Zeneca’s largest research facility is still the ex-ICI labs at Alderley Park, Cheshire, not too far from Manchester. So Sir Alex could have simply substituted “Astra-Zeneca” for ICI but we can’t pretend that something hasn’t been lost in the process.