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The Greatest Manager Ever

Privacy. A term much used and abused across the internet. Every site worth its name has a privacy statement. But that’s with respect to non-achievers sitting at home, surfing the internet. For celebrities, all talk of privacy goes out the window. Few in the business of journalism make a mockery of privacy the way British tabloids do. In Britain, the tabloids bring their A-game when stalking royalty. Not the monarchs, I’m referring to the players and managers of British football clubs. Terry nailed Bridge’s girl? The tabloids are the first to know. Rooney cheated on his pregnant wife? Tabloids. Darren Bent wants a smooth transfer to Sunderland? Tabloids are there to break the story and ruin that deal. You can imagine then, what a herculean task it was for Martin Edwards, Chairman of Manchester United Football Club to sign Alex Ferguson from Aberdeen without anyone hearing about it; in 1986. Yet they pulled it off. Because that’s how much they wanted him. They kept it under wraps until the nth hour. It was all  “Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush.”

United were languishing in the relegation zone when Ferguson arrived. His first task was to instil some much needed confidence in the squad. He did that and it was a sign of things to come. He identified United’s best players. Kept Robson for his mercurial talent and packed Whiteside and the rest off for their partying ways. Early days as Manager weren’t the easiest as United continued their run of abysmal performances. Several Board members wanted him sacked. Consensus in the media was that he would be sacked soon given that most fans were calling for his head. United drew Nottingham Forest in the F.A Cup in 1990 and the pundits in the media expected a United defeat and a subsequent sacking of Alex Ferguson. United prevailed on the back of a Mark Robins goal and this was the first significant turning-point in Alex Ferguson’s stellar career in charge at the Theatre of Dreams. This following a month of what he called  "the darkest period [he had] ever suffered in the game."

Come the 1990-91 season, United were beginning to show glimpses of the dominance that would become a trademark. United enthralled their home crowd with a 6-2 mauling of Arsenal. A much improved squad featured quality additions such as Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce, Paul Ince and McClair. United were delivering the goods on the pitch but it was the work behind the scenes that impressed the Board of Directors at Man United. Ferguson had restructured the Youth Academy and the scouting system and this paid rich dividends. In 1991 Ferguson brought in Andrei Kanchelskis and Peter Schmeichel. Two outstanding signings. But rather more significantly, the youngsters from the youth academy were beginning to break through. Good ones at that. Ryan Giggs good. 

In the close season, Ferguson missed out on signing Alan Shearer and ended up signing Dion Dublin. By November United were rotting in 10th place and were in desperate need of a source of inspiration. That came by in the form of Eric Cantona. The French footballing genius was signed from Leeds United in January 1993. He formed an instant partnership with Mark Hughes and the two bombarded defences on United’s way to their first League title in years. No one dared call for Ferguson’s sacking now.

Our history lesson ends there because we all know what happened after that. Ferguson and his mighty army conquered all in sight on their way to knocking Liverpool “right off their f***ing perch”. He was knighted for his services to football.

In 1999 Sir Alex Ferguson’s (SAF) men achieved an unprecedented treble of the Premier League, the F.A Cup and the UEFA Champion’s League.

"Champions of Europe, Champions of England, winners of the FA Cup, everything their hearts desired” – Clive Tyldesley

 SAF picked up a second Champion’s League medal after his side beat Chelsea in Moscow in 2008.

SAF’s biggest gift was the ease with which he formed all-conquering team after all-conquering team with seamless transitions which saw the exit of established players coincide with the breaking in of well groomed replacements. When “Captain Marvel” Bryan Robson retired Ferguson already had Roy Keane waiting for his turn. When David Beckham left the club he had Cristiano Ronaldo shipped in almost immediately. Superstars may come and go but there’s no replacing perhaps the greatest manager the game has ever seen. 

In an era where clubs change managers for fun, SAF gets away with murder. In 2003 SAF had the gall to sue the majority stake-holder at United over a dispute regarding the ownership of a race-horse. Any other manager at any other club would surely have been fired. 

He also decided to boycott the BBC altogether after they ran a documentary about his son (a football agent) using SAF’s influence to his advantage in the transfer market. Subsequent post match interviews were handled by Assistant Managers at Old Trafford. In 2010 however, new Premier League rules required managers to be present for post match interviews. SAF decided to boycott them anyway, and Manchester United supported his decision and agreed to pay the required fines to the Football Association. 

He has always ruled with an iron first. He has always maintained that no player is bigger than the club. No other manager would have dared to send David Beckham packing. Yet he’s still lives life as the Lord of Old Trafford. And on completion of his 25th year as the United Manager, the club came up with a wonderful gesture by renaming the North End (the biggest at Old Trafford) as “Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.” His club, his success, his rules, his way or the highway. A greater the manager there will never be.
  • 12 Premier League titles.  
  • 2 Champion’s League titles. 
  • 5 F.A Cups. 
  • 4 League Cups. 
  • 1 UEFA Cup Winners Cup 
  • 1 UEFA Super Cup 
  • 1 Intercontinental Cup 
  • 1 FIFA Club World Cup 
  • 10 F.A Community Shields

And counting....

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Nishant Boorla
Sarcasm means the world to me. Yeah that's always a good place to start. I watch movies...a lot of movies! Sports nut and a die hard Manchester United fan. Highly opinionated and that shows in my articles.


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