The retirement of Sir Alex has naturally been bad news for anyone associated with Manchester United as the club enter a season of uncertainty with a manager who’s yet to win a trophy. Only time will tell whether the incoming Scotsman has even an iota of the ability of the outgoing one when it comes to managing the world’s greatest football club.
The big plus for Moyes is unlike some club’s who’ve given their new managers shorter term deals, United have made a statement of intent for the future by tying the former Everton boss to a six year deal.
This gives Moyes a clear two-fold goal: maintain the current success but build for the future, neither of which is entirely easy, but anything so rewarding seldom is. When it comes to the first part the new boss is inheriting a strong squad, who’ve just won the league by eleven points and Moyes should also be handed a few quid for additions.
When it comes to the future, again United look in a strong position with some talented young players coming through and one of the best youth set-ups in the world. It’s the journey from ‘academy hopeful’ to ‘Manchester United player’ which is one of the most arduous in football with many failing to make that Quantum Leap – oh boy. One man who’s benefitted more than most from United’s need to give their youngster’s a taste of first-team football is the former boss’s son Darren Ferguson. Many Reds may remember Darren from the first Premier League season, where he had a hand in setting up Dion Dublin’s winner against Southampton – via Brian McLair’s shoulder if memory serves. Since then young Darren’s been carving out a career in the lower league’s as a footballer and more recently a manager, although the general consensus is he’s a bit like Nigel to Sir Alex’s Brian.
It’s not that Darren hasn’t had success, he’s had promotions and relegation’s, left by mutual consent, been sacked and even re-hired, all the while with his Dad no doubt watching from the wings with a word of advice or chastisement. Darren’s had more than just a few words from his Dad, he’s been the recipient of several young stars while at Peterborough and Preston. When Ferguson was sacked from Deepdale not only did the likes of Josh King and Richie De Laet get immediately recalled by Sir Alex, Tony Pulis snatched his young loanees away as well, making them return to the Britannia.
Over the past two seasons the likes of Ryan Tunnicliffe, Davide Petrucci and Scott Wooton have all made the journey from Old Trafford to London Road to help Peterborough battle for Championship survival. Posh’s relegation and the retirement of Sir Alex may just put a stop to all that and rightly so.
Young players with aspirations of playing for United can probably aim higher than League One, yes I know David Beckham played five games in the third tier almost twenty years ago, but times have moved on somewhat. Don’t think for one minute that just because Sir Alex is no longer manager Darren won’t be able to loan players should he want them.
Player’s coming of age at United can learn their trade in the Championship and will no doubt have no end of suitors, Michael Keane, Reece Brown and of course Wilfried Zaha were among a handful of Reds in the division last season.
Such is the quality in United’s squad that even fellow Premier League club’s have benefitted from our depth with Fabio and Angelo Henriquez playing their parts- however small- in the relegation dogfight.
League One isnt the worst place for a United youngster to spend a few months, after all Sam Johnstone got some vital keeping experience at Walsall, but with Darren no longer the boss’s son and the quality of talent we have at United, maybe it’s time to aim a little higher.