As far I’m concerned the was before Ferguson and from this summer onwards there will be after Ferguson – he changed the face of Manchester United and with them, English football.
At present the bookmakers have slashed the odds today on Everton manager David Moyes being appointed as Ferguson’s successor. Meanwhile, speculation persists that Jose Mourinho will be a) leaving Real Madrid this summer and b) returning to the Premier League.
Whilst Chelsea fans have got their heart set on the return of the most successful manager in their history, United bid farewell to theirs. Rumours that Mourinho could opt to take the reigns at Old Trafford, however, present a cumbersome problem for the Blues but, synonymously, for the Red Devils.
Whilst the idea of Mourinho is perhaps tantalizing for some United fans, those with long-term affections for the club and an investment in its future should beware the prospect of Mourinho.
Firstly, the Portuguese practitioner has never stayed in charge of any club for longer than 3 years and, whilst United negotiate what I expect to be a transitional phase of changeover, their short-time desire to compensate for Ferguson must not cloud their long-term judgment.
Mourinho would represent a ‘quick-fix’ in my estimation – he would be the equivalent of an impact signing like Robin van Persie: he’d be the man to win them trophies in the immediate future but United ought to go for a managerial appointment the equivalent of a signing like Phil Jones – they need to take the ‘long view’ and hire someone who can potentially stay for a quarter of a century like his predecessor.
Mourinho also has a troublesome tendency to make everything about him – the self-proclaimed ‘special one’ has been ousted from both Chelsea and Inter Milan and now it looks likely at Real Madrid for various reason but it tends to boil down to Mourinho being bigger than the club.
Sir Alex Ferguson knows all too well no one is bigger than Manchester United and that includes the manager – no individual is more important than the whole and that would not be the case under Mourinho’s leadership.
United also have a huge global following and are effectively a brand name around the world – Mourinho’s unpredictable and often inappropriate behavior and beliefs could damage the club’s reputation. Equally, his brand of football is very different from United’s at present.
Whilst United fans and the club’s investors will ardently want to bring in a manager proven and capable of even daring to dream of replacing Ferguson, Jose Mourinho would be the wrong appointment for the future of the most successful club in English football.
What the club really need is a manager in Ferguson's image - now where could they find a Scottish manager with ample experience, proven credentials, European ambitions, and a great aptitude for economical purchases in the transfer market? Hhhm.