The news that broke this morning, that Sir Alex Ferguson is to retire in less than two weeks’ time was somewhat apocalyptic – you’re led to believe that it is inevitable but thou will not knowest the day nor the hour.
I for one never expected that announcement to come today, I thought that everything pointed towards one more team building exercise, the man himself insinuated as much only days ago.
I would have liked to see him win more than two Champions League trophies. I would have liked to have seen Manchester United under his stewardship successfully defend a Champions League Title and become a European Superpower. Looking back to the team he inherited all those years ago this probably appears shamelessly greedy, especially when you look at the haul of titles and trophies that he has amassed during his tenure, it’s second to none, it’s phenomenal.
So why is he retiring and why now?
I shouldn’t speculate but everyone else is, so here are a few thoughts:
There’s a new chairman in town and Sir Alex hasn’t got the time or the inclination to develop the relationship – already it’s obvious they aren’t on the same page, Sir Alex stated to the media that he intended to strengthen the squad in the summer and hot on his heels the newbie chairman said that there would be absolutely no need to do such a thing. Does Sir Alex need that kind of confrontation to mar his final years in charge?
Jose Mourinho has become available and there’s no doubt that Sir Alex has a deep admiration of him. While I and most others I speak to aren’t convinced that Jose is the man for the job, citing the fact that his self-centred and abrasive personality aren’t conducive to long term team building, it could indeed be the case that the Old and Wise One is making the necessary room to allow the Special One to take the reins.
Sir Alex always said that he would continue until he no longer had the health to carry on. Really don’t want to dwell on this one but is there more than a routine hip operation on the cards for the aging Scot? I certainly hope he has the health to oversee many more successes for the club he holds so close and dear to his heart, in his new role as director. It’s getting a bit Star Wars at Old Trafford – we have Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alex Ferguson on the board, almost like the ghosts of Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Just remains to be seen who will take on the role of the new apprentice.
The simplest explanation is often the most likely – that he has achieved something extraordinarily special, not just winning the 20th league title but having taken a Manchester United that was falling into ruin and rebuilding them to what is arguably the most successful and recognised football club in the world, with structures and an ethos in place that should ensure continued and lasting success, long after he is gone. Well then, surely his work, his mission, is complete.
I doubt very much that Cathy Ferguson will talk him out of it this time, she’ll probably be glad to have him back. But here’s a thought and worthy of consideration, Sir Alex Ferguson is a Knight of the Realm and by his leaving he is potentially putting the defence of the English Premier League in jeopardy. Perhaps Her Majesty the Queen is taking time to make an assessment before she calls her Champion to court to request that he reconsider. And should he say no then they could at least share a bottle of the finest red and toast his unbelievable, and surely never to be rivalled success.
To Sir Alex Ferguson, thank you for all you have done for football, for Manchester United and for the inspiration and belief you have given to those who love to dream. I was but a boy when you took the reins and my father and I have followed you ever since, we will miss you now that you’re gone.
Fare ye well.
image: © genius1keeper