Sir Alex Ferguson is stepping down as Manchester United’s manager after 26 incredible years at the helm. Under his stewardship, the club won 38 trophies including 13 Premier League and two UEFA Champions League titles.
Due to his remarkable record, Ferguson has become one of the most widely admired and respected figures in football history. He has won a whole plethora of awards including Manager of the Year the most times in the history of British football. In recognition of his achievements, he received a knighthood in 1999.
Ferguson certainly bowed out in style, with his side beating Swansea 2-1 through goals from Javier Hernández and Rio Ferdinand. An honour guard formed as the veteran manager made his way to the centre of Old Trafford for the presentation of the Premier League Trophy. Ferguson stood on the pitch, clutching a microphone and thanked the masses for their support.
“I have absolutely no script in my mind. I’m just going to ramble on and hope I get to the core of what this football club has meant to me. Thank you to Manchester United, not just the directors, coaching staff, medical staff, the players, the fans, all of you – you have been the most fantastic experience of my life, so thank you. I’ve been very fortunate. I have been able to manage some of the greatest players in the country, let alone Manchester United”, he said.
Ferguson went on to place the importance of the result on his players, remarking that “all the players here today have represented this club the proper way. They won the championship in a fantastic fashion, so well done to the players.” He later placed immense importance on supporting his successor, David Moyes, who will take over at Manchester United when the season ends.
For Moyes, stepping into Alex Ferguson’s shoes could prove an extremely challenging task. Ferguson did endure some difficult moments in the wake of his arrival in 1986, but quickly settled down, leading to success both on and off the pitch. Still, emulating his fellow Scot is going to prove extraordinarily difficult for Moyes.
It has become clear that Ferguson’s expertise will be sorely missed to the point where Manchester United’s long term prosperity could suffer. Is David Moyes the perfect man to take over the reigns? Why not somebody like Jose Mourinho? Both men have advantages over each other. Mourinho has won far more silverware than Moyes and the talented Portuguese manager also boasts immense European experience.
Moyes does hold some key advantages over his rivals, however. He has done well ever since he has joined Everton. His team has consistently finished higher and higher in the Premier League table in recent years. Ferguson was at Manchester United for 26 years and the club appears keen to avoid situations like those of rivals Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, who have juggled with managers over the past few seasons. Mourinho has changed clubs very often over the past decade, working at Real Madrid, Inter Milan and of course Chelsea.
Moyes has been at Everton since 2002 and has been praised widely by other managers for what he has managed to achieve on Merseyside with a limited budget. Senior figures at Old Trafford believe he has excellent ability when it comes to football management, and he is a far better long-term fit for the club. He is a very humble individual, enjoying a healthy relationship with his players and the press. Mourinho has often been labelled arrogant and has been widely criticised in Spain for his attitude to the press.
Manchester United will now find themselves hard pressed to repeat Alex Ferguson’s triumphs. With Moyes, they will have a manager untested in football’s top tier. With Wayne Rooney recently requesting a transfer, future success is far from assured. Is this the end of Manchester United’s prosperity or the beginning of a fruitful new era under the guidance of David Moyes? Time will tell.
Imagenote: Sean McEntee via Flickr