Sir Alex Ferguson has already reserved his place in Manchester United and football folklore. He has got nothing to prove. More than 30 years in management,he has amassed numerous accolades and churned out trophies galore.
He has famously knocked a giant club in Liverpool off its perch.From the humble surroundings of Pittodrie where he dismantled the hegemony of the Old Firm to beat the infinite times more glamorous and the mighty Real Madrid to the high intensity surroundings of Old Trafford where a club was in steady decline and under the shadows of its other great red rivals,he has not only made Manchester United a force on the field,but also off it,as success on the field was directly proportional to the commercial ventures off the field.
However Manchester United are very delicately poised in the football world.Already behind in the European circuit to the force of the Spanish armada and the financial clout driving the “noisy neighbours” domestically,the English champions also have been mounted with a huge debt which has seen them unable to compete with the likes of Manchester City,Chelsea,Real Madrid in the hunt of players.Historically,United have always fancied such challenges under the tutelage of Sir Alex,but with Sir Alex in the twilight of his illustrious managerial career,United enter into a phase of serious uncertainty.
The big question is who is best equipped to step into the big shoes of such a legendary figure.It requires volumes of steel and nerves and of course personality and character.It will be a daunting task,and that is an understatement.Many big names have already been linked.Some suggest someone who knows the fabric of the club is best suited for the job.Some say it requires a dynamic personality like Jose Mourinho.Either way,the next manager has got a huge task on his hands.First of all,he should be strong enough to live under the inevitable shadows of the great Scot from Govan.
One great feature of Ferguson‘s traits is the resilience and the mentality which is in-bred in the team.Time and again we’ve seen his charges emulating Tom Cruise’ Mission Impossible series.Will the next manager be able to inspire his charges when the chips are down? Most of United’s recent success have been more to do with the mentality than the talent present.Winning the 19th title and in hunt for the 20th with an injury ravaged squad cannot be put in the same bracket as Ferguson‘s great yesteryear teams which made it to the Champions League Final last season, however it does show the magic the man sprays. Would another manager would have managed it? Opinions are divided.
That is what makes Sir Alex Ferguson such a special manager.
His legacy can’t be counted by the trophies he has won,it goes beyond silverware and statistics.It is about the impact he has on the club.If Sir Matt Busby laid the foundation of modern-day Manchester United,Ferguson has built on these foundations stone by stone over the last 25 years.The new manager,whoever he is,needs to learn the virtues of the club.
The same set of principles without which the club will lose its soul.As much as a world-class midfield enforcer is needed at United,the club cannot sacrifice its age-old ethos of nurturing young talent and creating super stars.
United have survived the exits of Cantona,Robson,Beckham,Ronaldo-but can it survive the exit of its legendary manager?