News that Sir Alex Ferguson is no more ready for slipping off this mortal coil as he was for giving unscrupulous journalists a cuddle has been greeted with euphoria by Reds all over the world.
It feels slightly odd penning a tribute to someone that can’t be classed as a eulogy nor comes after they’ve announced their retirement but it would be wrong not to use the recent scare over Sir Alex’s health as a reason to acknowledge just how much he means to so many.
Initial reports on his recovery noted that Sir Alex was sitting up and speaking after a successful operation, in fact he was cracking jokes and reminding any visitors that his razor-sharp wit wasn’t on the wane.
Arsene Wenger’s recent departure from Arsenal had given the English press, many of whom actually hold the Frenchman in higher esteem than his far more successful counterpart, a reason to reminisce over one of football’s great rivalries.
The United/Arsenal battles – which indeed they were- of the late nineties, early noughties were a golden period in English football when two truly great teams clashed in more ways than one.
It’s remarkable that for a seven-year period, United and Arsenal were the only Premier League winners, to put that into context, the past seven years have seen four different sides lift the title with only United and City managing the feat more than once during that time. It’s also worth noting the two clubs managed five FA Cups between them during that time, including three doubles.
The nostalgic look at Wenger coupled with the realisation that despite being a managerial God, Sir Alex is indeed mortal, have shone a light on the unreal achievements, Ferguson reached during his 26-year reign at Old Trafford.
Even Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking success at City this season has somehow reminded us all how impressive Sir Alex was: “have you ever won the treble…” and all that.
With United losing to Chelsea in the FA Cup final this weekend it’s a game that reminded us – not that we needed it – of how spoilt we were under Sir Alex.
There’s nothing wrong with expecting or even demanding success at Manchester United and despite the sad news that made us revisit the great man’s achievements, at the very least it’s heartening to know the entire football world remains forever in his awe. And rightly so.