Against Wolverhampton on November 6, Sir Alex Ferguson will celebrate the completion of his 24th year in charge at Manchester United.
The United boss has now surpassed the revered Sir Matt Busby for the longest successive tenure as a manager in the club’s 132 year history.
Ferguson has just toppled the feat of his 2,000th match as a professional manager against Bursaspor at Old Trafford – and fittingly the match against Wolves will be his 1,350th for United.
Ferguson has faced many unwanted dilemmas throughout his long, successful term as boss of United, and even after the most recent, unneeded drama at Old Trafford, the candle of his desire has been ignited yet again.
During the last 24 years, the man from Govan has overcome all of the storms that have been sent his way, and every time he has come out smelling better than roses despite his critics wanting him to be pushing up daisies instead.
It is quite amazing that his enthusiasm has never wavered one bit, and his passion will never die – unless it is the reason for him to call it curtains on his unparalleled managerial career.
Already the most successful British manager, Ferguson could have very easily called it a day, and almost did in 2001, but he has an uncanny drive to make United the most successful English club.
The success of United in the last 20-plus years almost never happened, and would not have if some of the impatient supporters had their way.
When he arrived in November 1986, United were in 19th place (9 points, 13 games, -5 GD), and facing possible demotion to the second tier of English football, but Fergie steadied the ship and prevented the drop as they finished 11th in his first season.
The Gaffer almost led United to the title the following season, but they finished second behind Liverpool, however, the next two seasons their form dipped, and the supporters were convinced that Ferguson was not the man for this job and lead United forward.
A player by the name of Mark Robins, who has been since dubbed to be the one that saved the Gaffer’s job, scored a goal in the Third Round of the FA Cup that propelled, and ultimately gave the other United players the taste of success that they needed to yearn continued success.
Ferguson made those supporters eat their words, because since the capture of the 1990 FA Cup, Ferguson has guided United to no few than 11 English Premier League titles, 2 European Cups, 4 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 9 FA Charity/Community Shields, an UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, an UEFA Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
There is, and always will be, speculation about who should replace him, but it will surely take a true legend, and probably some heartache, to emerge from the shadow of superiority that Sir Alex has cast over the club.
Without that stability and sheer confidence of Ferguson, United would not even be close the club that they are both on and off the field, and it will be interesting to see whomever attempts to climb that mountain when the time comes.
It will be a cold, dark day when Sir Alex Ferguson ends his time at Old Trafford, but we will raise our glass and say, “Here is to another 24 years, Gaffer!”
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