If newspaper reports are to be believed along with market trends in betting on football, the inevitable day may finally be upon Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson is considering retiring as manager of the club.
Sir Alex Ferguson was the man responsible for ending the 26 year drought of not winning a top flight title back in 1993. He is the man who transformed a sleeping giant into the most feared side in Europe. He is the man who will go down in history as the most successful manager the ever grace the game.
Nobody can underestimate the impact he has had on not only this great club in the North-West of England, but the English game as a whole.
All you need to do is look at how many current managers there are in this country who have worked with Ferguson previously as a player or coach. Many of the current crop of top flight Managers are open about approaching Ferguson for advice – and he never turns his back on them.
His influence is obvious for all to see and our game is better for it.
For Manchester United, it will never be the right time for Ferguson to leave.
For Sir Alex Ferguson, now seems to be the perfect time.
At 71, having had a pace maker fitted a few years back, and due to go for hip surgery in the summer, it is plainly obvious his best physical years are behind him. As quick as ever in the mind, yet nobody can deny the human body does begin to slow down.
I’m pushing 30 and I can safely say my bones ache more now than they did at 18, so Christ knows how Sir Alex stays in such good health.
To put it plainly; take a look at your own grand parents and ask yourself if they could do what he does, week in week out?
The rigours of working six days a week are enough to take their toll on any of us – no matter what job you do.
For footballing reasons, let’s be honest; he was never going to walk away leaving Manchester City as current champions, now was he?
Rumours began circulating when United claimed their 18th title. He had matched Liverpool for top flight wins – but that wasn’t the job he set out to do… he wanted to “knock them off of their perch”… and he has done just that.
So why not leave when it became 19 titles for United? Europe.
Not only did Sir Alex want to overtake Liverpool domestically, but he also wanted to catch their five European titles.
With European football being significantly harder in modern times – this was an area in which United fell short, time after time. The sides of ’99 and ’08 will go down in history – but there should have been more to add, and Ferguson knows it. Probably his only regret from his tenure.
If what is being reported turns out to be a false alarm and he stays on – could he perhaps risk tarnishing his stature at the club?
Of course he may go on to win another league title, an FA Cup, or ever another European cup… (but what if he doesn’t?)
What if City or Chelsea win the Premier League next year. Will Sir Alex stay in charge until he wins it back? Can a man who will then be pushing mid 70 really carry on working at this level of intensity?
An very public fall from grace is currently in full swing elsewhere in the Premier League.
What Arsene Wenger has done for Arsenal football club is truely remarkable. The double winners or ’98 were a frightening team – then rebuilding the side for the invincibles in ’04 was no easy task – yet the Frenchman is now widely criticised for not leaving his job when the time was ‘right‘.
Who can say when the time is right? Yet it is eight years Arsenal have gone without a trophy. Something which has no doubt ruined Wengers legacy.
Again, I am not saying this will happen to Sir Alex, but from his point of view, why risk what he has done for potentially one more season.
In a season which has delivered a record 20th league title.; seen a statue of the great man erect outside of the ground; seen the reds stamp local authority on who actually is the dominant force in Manchester – are all the signs there for the perfect farewell?
One of the main strengths of Ferguson was knowing when the time was right for his players to be moved on.
Ince, Kanchelskis, Hughes, Sharpe, Van Nistelrooy, Beckham, Keane, Butt, Tevez. He knew the right time for each and every one of these world class players to leave Manchester United. As fans, we didn’t always agree, but he knew.
If Sir Alex decides he is to retire, can anybody honestly argue that now is not the perfect time for him?
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