I tried hard to write something touching, something smart, but nothing came up. I’ve decided to be honest, and just write, because there is so much to say about Ferguson and unfortunately, I haven’t been around for long enough to know most of it.
If you are even a little rational, you can’t do anything except respect Ferguson for what he’s done in the last 20 years. His methods are not always the best – Beckham, Stam and Ruud went because of personal problems with the manager, while he held on to Keane for far too long – but at the end of the day teams are judged on results and Manchester United are the most successful club in the last 2 decades in England.
Comparisons with other managers
Arsene Wenger has been styled (by his fans, mind you) as being the person who brought about the biggest change to the Premiership with his training and brand of football. Mourinho craves attention for turning Chelsea into the unstoppable force that it is today.
But both managers – and sets of fans for these managers – would do well to go back to 1986, when Alexander Chapman Ferguson joined Manchester United, then languishing near the bottom of the table, a huge club with a huge fan base but no trophies to show for a couple of decades. He cut down on the drinking, as Wenger would do 10 years later.
He had a fantastic youth policy (Wenger again) – Giggs is proof of it, having been with United almost as long as Ferguson himself.
He prepared meticulously for each match, and focused on physical conditioning, discipline and a never-say-die attitude (remind you of Mourinho?).
His teams played with an attacking flair that Arsenal would build on and call their own, and under him Manchester United defended religiously and fought like a pack of dogs – a trait Chelsea took up almost two decades later and called their own
Draw your own conclusions.
Ferguson vs Beckham
For me, Manchester United will always be Beckham’s club. Not Keano’s, Not Cantona’s, not Rooney’s, not Ferguson’s. Giggs and Scholes have been around for longer, Keano and Cantona were definitely more influential, but Beckham was Manchester United more than anyone else.
Loosing him will always be Ferguson’s biggest mistake. A shame.
Media coverage of Ferguson’s tribute
20 Years of Ferguson
Ferguson’s best XI
Ferguson – Quotes
Ferguson – In Numbers
Manchester United’s future with Ferguson
It’s hard to imagine United without Ferguson, but if you want an example of how that might happen, look at Martin O’Neill and Celtic. Ferguson will not be sacked, he will leave on his own terms (even if he steps down after another failed season) and he will leave with the respect that should be accorded to one of the most successful managers ever.
The good news is that he’s going to be around for a while – and Manchester United need him, for sure. The bad news? Several, actually. Becks won’t be coming back, there are no replacements for Ferguson, and United will be in danger of a downward spiral the moment Ferguson leaves.
Bah..we’re 3 points clear and our rivals are bitching, bitching, bitching. If only all weekends were this good.