United without Ferguson is something people of my generation have not yet been able to witness and it is definitely something that people will find hard to witness when the time comes for Sir Alex to retire or possibly move into a Director Of Football role at the club. But that once again begs one of the most difficult questions the club will ever face, who will replace the great Sir Alex Ferguson?
David Moyes Since leaving the Preston North End manager’s job for a similar role at Everton, Moyes has built up a reputation of been one of the best managers in the Premier League. Working off a budget which may just about rival the most relegation threatened clubs, Moyes has achieved qualification for European competition in four of his ten full seasons in charge of Everton along with finishing in the top ten no more than eight times in them ten seasons, a feat which is quite remarkable considering the funding in which he receives in the transfer markets. Moyes is known to have a good relationship with Sir Alex and therefore understands the way in which he manages, and in some way, he reminds me of Sir Alex with his ‘Scottish Grit’ style of management. I think Moyes would be a perfect replacement for Fergie due to his knowledge and understanding of the game, but he may be a risk as he has never won a trophy and may struggle with the expectation which is put on him to win trophy after trophy season after season.
Pep Guardiola His reputation speaks for itself, 14 trophies in just four seasons at Barcelona including three La Liga titles, two Champions League trophies and two Fifa World Club Cup triumphs easily cements Guardiola as one of the most successful managers in recent history, and the thing which is scary, he’s only 41. Guardiola’s ability to control a team full of class players like Barcelona’s side has made him a strong contender for the United job. The style of football he plays is the style which has been labeled such things like ‘sexy football’ and that is the style which most United fans want the club to play. There is no doubt that Guardiola is one of the most successful managers in the world, but just look at the squad which he inherited at Barca. The likes of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Puyol, four of the best players to ever live in my opinion. That then begs the question, would he be able to manage a team which isn’t yet the finished item? I don’t see why he couldn’t, but I feel it would be a far bigger risk than Moyes would be due to the fact that he doesn’t have any experience of the Premier League and that it may take him quite a while to settle in, whereas with Moyes, he knows the league and he knows the club.
Jose Mourinho ‘The special one’ was at one point one of the most hated men to ever step foot inside Old Trafford, that was in his Chelsea days, but lets all forget about that as he kept us lot quiet winning trophy after trophy. Like Guardiola, Mourinho is one of the most successful managers in Europe, but what differs is the fact that Mourinho has done it with four completely different clubs in four completely different leagues which when you come to think of it, is some achievement. With 20 titles already in his ever expanding trophy count, Mourinho has built a reputation up for been a bit of a managerial journeyman with his longest job to date been a three year managerial stint at Chelsea. He has frequently hinted that he would be interested in replacing Sir Alex but a lot of United fans would prefer to see someone else at the helm due to his ‘boring’ style of football. I agree, if I pay the money in which we are been asked to pay, I want to see football which can be aesthetically appreciated, but what I also want to see is United winning trophies, and if that means by playing boring football, then so be it. A possible management set up of Mourinho and Fergie’s old friend Carlos Queiroz is something which sounds rather appealing, but it will come at a massive cost, a cost in which our ‘good friend’ Malc may not be prepared to sacrifice.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer I know what you are all thinking “Solskjaer? You mad?” no I’m not, but I personally couldn’t think of one current manager who would respect the job as much as our 1999 hero Ole. Solskjaer took charge of United’s reserve team in 2008 after retiring from all levels of football in 2007. In a successful two years stint with United’s second string, Solskjaer won four titles including the Premier Reserve League title and the Lancashire Senior Cup. He then felt that it was time to move on from his 12 years at United and took the managers job at his previous club, Molde FK. He was an instant hit with the fans back in his home nation and won the Norwegian Premier League in his first season there and is currently three points clear at the top of the table with 3 games left in the 2012 season.
For me, Solskjaer is a big dark horse for the job. My biggest worry about him was that he wouldn’t be assertive enough, but after seeing numerous videos on youtube, it’s clear to see that the baby faced assassin can give his players a good old telling off, similar to what Sir Alex has been renowned for in the past 20 years. He will bring something new to the job, something no other manager would be able to bring. Also, it may result in a possible link up with some of the clubs senior players like Scholes and Giggs, which could be an interesting proposition.
So it’s safe to say, David Gill is going to have a very very difficult 18 months or so.