Who benefits from Ferguson's retirement?

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has announced his plans to retire at the end of this season after 26 years in charge of the Premier League champions.

Whilst it will be the end of an era for United fans – the retirement of the most successful manager in their history – there will likely be some beneficiaries of United’s loss.

Ferguson will take a position upstairs as a director at the club and will by no means be abandoning the ship he’s steered for over a quarter of a century. He will oversee the club as it moves forwards into a new era and will undoubtedly be instrumental in the appointment of his replacement.

However, United’s archrivals Manchester City are also embarking on a new era and they have designs already in motion to dominate English football – the huge investment City have made in their squad and facilities has attracted some of the finest talent in the world as, despite a disappointing season, they will remain strong contenders for many years to come.

Without Ferguson at the helm, United will naturally and understandably go through a phase of transition – they have a strong basis to take them into the future; a number of core young players that will mature over the next few years as the old guard, the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick are gradually phased out.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have had, by their own high standards, a disappointing season too – they could yet win the Europa League but last term’s Champions League winners have fallen away in the league behind the Manchester clubs and are still not assured a top-four finish just yet.

They need a new manager to replace interim boss Rafael Benitez and it looks increasingly likely that Jose Mourinho will return to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea’s most successful manager to date will likely bring with him at least a few quality additions and with the quality and depth the Blues already have in their squad, you can bet there will present a genuine title challenge next term.

Meanwhile, in North London, Arsenal have also been in a ‘spiral of negativity’ for a number of years now but manager Arsene Wenger now takes the title of the Premier League’s longest serving boss and with the new cash ‘kitty’ they’ll claim from new and improved sponsorship deals, you can count on the Gunners to reinforce and reassert themselves over the league next term.

Who benefits from Ferguson’s retirement? Well, the world of football surely loses one if it’s most passionate, successful and dedicated practitioners – as far as football goes, there was before Ferguson and now there’ll be after Ferguson.

There is no doubt about it, United’s Premier League rivals can capitalize on their inevitable state of transition over the next few years as the club works to compensate for the loss of their leader.

image: © marcel sigg

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