This morning a legend amongst the football world announced his retirement. After 26 and a half years on the United throne, Sir Alex finally divulged that this would be his last season.
After announcing his retirement in advance over a decade ago, Ferguson always regretted the manner in which he did as it effected player performance and attitude, and so it was always expected that it would be a spontaneous affair. However, it has still come as a relative shock to some people, as Ferguson kept his cards close to his chest, and has recently suggested that he would go beyond this season. But alas, the Scot has one up on us all once again.
He is one of the most famous, and successful, managers in the world, leading Manchester United to an astounding 13 league titles, whilst also claiming 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 2 European Cups, a European Cup Winners’ Cup, the Intercontinental Cup and the Club World Cup. It is therefore no surprise that whilst Chelsea and the likes of Manchester City have had 18 managers over the past few decades, Ferguson has been the one, consistent, and thus successful, manager in English football. It is definitely a testament to Ferguson that when United ever perform badly, it is not the fans who call for his head, but stand by him, and trust in him to steer the club back to success.
Sir Alex is the longest serving manager in football, and despite his remaining at the helm for over a decade since he last announced his retirement, the time has come for the Scot to step down. Much of the conjecture surrounding this decision circulates around the poor, if not deteriorating, health of the Scot, who had a pacemaker fit in 2004, and will be undergoing hip surgery in August of this year. What now fuels debate is who will be the successor of the most successful manager in football? While it may have been the Portuguese Mourinho who topped the list of speculation, recent rumours linking Mourinho back to his old club Chelsea seem to have squashed this possibility, with odds on favourite now Everton’s David Moyes.
Jose Mourinho has in recent times, confessed his desire to return to England and how Manchester United would be a managerial dream prospect. As manger of Real Madrid currently, their recent dip in form, resulting in them surrendering their title to arch rivals Barcelona, has not been pleasing for Mourinho, and after he failed to get his team to the Champions League final he more than admitted his departure from the club. Yet it seems that Stamford Bridge is calling, and this animated, passionate, and successful man will return to the blue side of London.
The possibility of ex-Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, whose recent hiatus from football could have been in preparation for him taking on such a high profile role, was lately diminished as he took up the post of manager of Bayern Munich. Guardiola could have been the charismatic and talented man for the job, as, despite United’s domestic success, he could have propelled them further in Europe. But sadly, it will not be. Perhaps Pep is kicking himself right now for accepting a job so soon…
However odds on favourite David Moyes is looking likelier and likelier. His decade at Everton has seen some consistent football, even with his limited funds. He is a manger known to purchase shrewdly, obtaining effective, powerful and hard working players that become targets for many of the premier league’s top clubs. During his haul at Everton, he is now fully accustomed to the English footballing world, knowing the game, and the opposition well, which gives him an edge over some foreign managers. Therefore, considering his feats under the circumstances and expectation, he is a likely, and perhaps, deserving candidate.
Whoever the lucky man may be, he will need the passion, insatiable hunger and the instinct to drive the club to further glories. They will need to adapt to the ever-changing game, and maintain Fergie’s mentality that no player is bigger than the club. Ferguson has built and reshaped many teams since he has been at United, but each team has had both youth and experience, passion and drive, and the belief that they can win. Now Ferguson’s departure is imminent, the manager who will succeed his position needs to instil such qualities in the team, as undoubtedly the news will hit some players hard. The transition between legend and new manger will indisputably be a difficult, emotional one, but one thing must remain constant: a regular haul of trophies.
Sir Alex Ferguson
1986 – 2013