Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Greatest - Sir Alex Ferguson

I don't think there could be a more massive news than yesterday's in football. Sir Alex Ferguson retirement news is a bombshell in itself and the fact that it was just out of the blue made it all the more sensational. This is about the only manager many Man Utd fans will have known. And the greatest one that ever managed a football team. Like any sort of transitioning in any business, this is bound to hit Man Utd hard. Liverpool have yet to recover from their glory days in the 80's. Although it is hard to fathom that the current Red Devils will suffer that kind of drought, it looks far-fetched to think that without the man, they will be able to sustain the kind of trophy collection that they've been so accustomed to under his guidance. Only Fergie's mastery and vision could have withstood the threat from big spenders like Chelsea and Man City in the past years. Yesterday's news will have given these teams a mighty spring in their step, that this might be finally their time for dominance.

Without Fergie, there is no doubt that Man Utd will go to battle without their soul. They will fight as they always do, but there will be that invisible all-important ingredient missing. The rampant feeling is that David Moyes will be the anointed replacement. There's no doubt that he's an excellent coach who's been doing wonders at Everton for the past years. The major downside is that he's never won a trophy and does not have Champions League experience. He might still be the best one for the job, particularly for the long term. But for the short term, things don't look rosy for the champions. Changes will be inevitable and some will be destabilizing. The news that Rooney is again asking for departure; his request might have been prior to the Ferguson news but it still is one of the many challenges facing the club in this new dawn.

The chance to work with Ferguson was an appeal for foreign stars to join the club. It's hard to think that the attraction will be the same under a new coach. Man Utd is bound to find it harder in the transfer market. With Fergie, a game was never lost until the final whistle. Man Utd fans have abundant memories of matches being won in injury time. With their never-say-die attitude, Fergie's teams made 0 point into 1, 1 point into 3, and jaws of defeat into glorious wins; ask Bayern Munich in the 1999 European Cup, arguably Fergie's finest hour.

Although it is too early to make predictions, there is every reason to believe that Man Utd will fall short of making the same kind of points haul in the EPL next year. This does not mean that the Red Devils cannot win the league again or be a major force in football. It's just that their dominance and awe, as we know it today, is over. The change of the guard will impact, it always does. If there is no shift of power, there is a bound to be a major re-balancing of it. This is a new dawn for Man Utd and English football. The top end of the EPL will certainly be looking different than the ones in the last decades.

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