Review of "Alex Ferguson"

published 11/05/2013 | thedevilinme
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"'Fergie time' is up!"

Alex Ferguson the manager

Alex Ferguson the manager

A year ago Harry Redknapp was set to be England manager; David Moyes not even mentioned for the job. How times have changed, Moyes now Manchester United manager and Redknapp not remotely linked to the second biggest job in English football and now relegated. I think United’s continuity with another dour Scott is understandable but I don’t think we will win much with him, United about to join the ‘hire and fire em league’ that will see Old Trafford have at least four managers in the next ten years. Laudraup looked the perfect fit but not to be.

It’s not the years of your life but the life in your years, someone famous once said, and for Alex Ferguson, 71 is deemed time enough, a hip operation booked and over a half-a-century in the game one too many miles on the stopwatch for the dockers boy from Glasgow. He could do more but that increases uncertainly and so it’s the right time to set out the next ten years as the club continues to grow and now the biggest brand in world football, effectively our national team. For twenty - three - years he ruled United and suddenly it’s all over, an uncertain time for Manchester United.

Some players and managers only walk the earth to see their own reflection (Alan Pardew and Phil Brown) whilst others need to go to the deepest valley to appreciate the highest mountain, Ferguson very much the later, why Morinhio won’t ever be United manager. United won’t someone who is in awe of the club and will lead them and respect and build their legacy, not someone who plucks his eye brows for interviews and all about him. How boring has Jose got!


The A-Z of Sir Alex Ferguson


A = Aberdeen

It was astonishing what he did there, breaking the Old firm dominance from 1979 to 1985, winning three Scottish Premier League titles, unheard of. There were also four Scottish Cups, one Scottish League Cup, one Super Cup and that Scottish Cup Winners Cup triumph in 1983. Not since, or before, has anyone taken the sparkle out of Celtic and Rangers trophy cabinets, evidence enough United should give him the time he needed, time he would not get in modern football.


B = Bungs

Most managers were up to no good in some form in the early days and a surreptitious part of their wage, a little sweetener here to take a player they may not fancy or a brown envelope there to move one on they do fancy. It’s a little known fact that many managers belong to agents companies that profit from moving on their own players with a commission to the company. Harry Redknapp moved on, or signed, 112 players when he was at West Ham. You know the rest. With Sir Alex it was a little less muddied waters but the accusations out there, one particular expose the reason why he didn’t speak to the BBC for seven years. His son seemed to be involved in dodgy football deals and the BBC right to broadcast it. There was a famous incident detailed in his book where a Russian threw an envelope of cash into his car when leaving Old Trafford as a thank you for signing Andrei Kanchelskis. Alex claims to have reported the incident rather promptly to the clubs then solicitor and the money put in a safe and dealt with correctly. The suggestion was it was a blackmail attempt by the Russian mafia and the person who handed over the money told the press he gave Alex a bung but the story became an anecdote in his biography and that was that.

Let’s also not forget the move of goalkeeper Tim Howard from America to United, a transfer that involved FOUR agents, one of them being Sir Alex’s son Jason, the Metro Stars losing track of the payments made to the agents and the club. Where did that money end up and why four agents? Howard didn’t last long at United, as did many players back in the 1990s at Old Trafford.
Another odd one was Bebe, who United could have had for half - a - million dollars from a lowly Portuguese club if they acted just six months before. This was a kid who was homeless for a while and been around the scene, yet a year later from that valuation United paid seven million pounds for him in 2010. Today he is out on loan back in Portugal and scoring just two goals in seven games for United to date. Since when did Fergie sign players like that?


C = Cantona

Eric bought that hubris needed to win the title, a belief he showed on the pitch with imperious quality and strutting arrogance. He could score the critical goals at the critical time the way Ronaldo did and began the run that would see United win 39 trophies under Sir Alex, the missing piece of the jigsaw.


D = Drugs

Somehow widespread drug use – performance and social – has been covered up in major sports like football, even though the EPL employs hundreds of testers per month. It’s believed it’s all dealt with in-house not to damage the brand and so sponsorship, the way it is in tennis and golf and American sport in general. Incredibly, just five players have tested positive for soft drugs in 18 years and just two for PEDs. Rumors at Manchester United suggested NANI had failed at test and assistant manager Carlos Queiroz had to go to cover it up, banned for six months for blocking two players’ blood tests at another club at a training camp. The influx of foreign players to the Premiership bought bad habits and doping legal in Spain and Portugal up until as late as 2006. There is no suggestion United doped but we know it has been common practice abroad.


E = England Matches

There is no doubt in my mind Rio wanted to play for England last month and Fergie talked him out of it over this injury nonsense, perhaps suggesting Rio would not be offered a new deal if he wanted the extra stress of England matches on his body at his age. Ok, no need for United players to be dragged out for money making friendless but Fergie has held back players for international duty when needed, very much club over country.


F = Fergie Time


It was proved that Man United games went on 79 seconds longer, on average, when they were losing to when they were winning, fact. The bigger your club and the better your home record the more intimidated visiting refs, players and managers are going to be, many just rolling over with weak sides and moving on to the next game. But United have earnt that respect and so use it. It’s simply less hassle for the referees if they don’t go against United at Old Trafford, as it is at the Emirates, Anfield and The Ethiad. I suspect all these grounds get more injury time when their teams are trailing. But United use those last few minutes and injury time the best, attacking until the whistle, when other teams sit back and block. United, and Sir Alex, are ruthless the way Stephen Hendry was to win by the maximum amount of frames, whoever and where ever they played.


G = Glasgow Rangers

Alex played for six clubs over 17 years and scored an impressive 170 goals in 341 games, no mug. He was a decent player for Rangers, joining with a record inter Scottish club fee of £65,000 with 25 goals in 41 appearances. But he was blamed for a big error defending a corner from Celtics legendary Billy McNeil in an Old Firm cup final and couldn’t settle that in his mind and fell out with the club, and as the BBC know, a man that holds a grudge.


H = Honor

Following the sacking of his son Darren by Preston North End, Ferguson immediately recalled loaned players Ritchie De Laet, Joshua King and Matty James from Preston under its new managerial system, explaining that it was the players' own request not to return to Preston after the change of manager. Stoke City manager Tony Pulis followed soon after in recalling two former Manchester United players from Preston as well, stating the need for the players to supplement his team's intensive schedule. You don’t cross this particular Scotsman.


I = International manager

He was approached to manage England and on the unofficial short list of four but not keen enough, so says David Bernstein, the head of the Premier League. He did, however, manage Scotland for a short while after the death of the great Jock Stein, who died of a heart attack during the final qualifying match for the 1986 World Cup, taking just one point from three games in Mexico.

J = JFK.
Sir Alex is obsessed with the life and death of JFK and friend Gordon Brown sent him 35 CDs about the assassination of JFK, a bond between the two with a shared interest in US politics, Ferguson fascinated with the JFK killing, as many are. Alex kept JFK's autopsy report by his bed. He also has a copy of the Warren Report signed by [the former US president] Gerald Ford.


K = Knight of the realm?

If Floella Benjamin from Playschool can be in the House of Lords then why not Sir Alex, already flagged up by his big mate Alistair Campbell to get a Life Peerage. Alex is a big labor man and politically opinionated and so maybe worth a thought for Ed Milliband.


L = League champions

His first was manager of St Mirren, Scottish League one in 1967. He sensationally broke the Old Firm dominance between 1979 and 1985, winning three Scottish Premier Leagues, unheard of. There were also four Scottish Cups, one Scottish League Cup, one Super Cup and that Scottish Cup Winners Cup triumph in 1983 that would get United’s attention.

There would be 13 English Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 10 Charity Shields, 2 Champions League and one each of the Cup Winners Cup, the Super Cup, the Intercontinental Cup and the FIFA World Club Championship. The old UEFA Cup would be the one he would never win, 30 trophies in 23 years, 50 exactly in his managerial career.


M = Moyes

It feels like United are trying to create another Sir Alex from similar roots and certainly Sir Alex’s pick all along. Morinhio would have offered more immediate success and so continuity and so maybe why Alex hung on for another year or so to get through the stock market launch. Moyes is not going to win anything for two of three years and so a simple reboot going on here. I would go with Laudrap or Martinez as I feel Moyes has stayed at Everton waiting and waiting for Sir Alex to go, maybe David selling Rooney to his best mate part of the deal.


N = Nottingham Forest and that goal


United finished just outside of the relegation zone in Alex fourth season at the club and he was facing the sack. Then Mark Robbins scored that goal in the FA Cup and the rest is history, beating Crystal Palace 1-0 in the 1990 final.


O = Old Trafford

Just one full house at Man United brings in more revenue than all of neighboring Wigan’s 19 home gates in the Premier League each season. Who are you going to support when you grew up in the Greater Manchester area?


P = Press

I think educated people intimidate working-class Alex and when he bans people from press conferences he is reinforcing that insecurity. He simply can’t go head-to-head and articulate his ideas with these guys so just snaps back. If you’re not pulling for United then he has no time for you. What he won’t acknowledge is that a lot of the money in football comes from repetitive press and media coverage and the more of it the better his salary will be, whether it be good or bad publicity. Trust me; the press is bored of those inane questions they are forced to ask too. Every time he is quoted on a website or TV an advert will appear and the game and its sponsors will pay money to football. This is why we have so many banal football stories and quotes these days.


Q = Queens Park

His first club and signed at 16 as a semi pro. He scored on his debut in a 2-1 defeat. Despite smashing 21 goals in 30 games he couldn’t hold down a place and so left for St Johnstone.


R = Rooney & Ronaldo!

Rooney, good player for us in the long term but not a great for me, Ronaldo, great player but not good for us, as ever, too much Premier League hyperbole around them. Rooney goes missing for England in the really big games against the best players in the world and always looks fleshy and out of puff in internationals, as does Ronaldo. Ronaldo never passes the ball and so costs as many games as he wins. Wayne smokes and drinks and more of a midfielder for me than a striker, a role he will assume if he stays at United with Hernandez moving alongside RVP. Ironically he is the midfield player United have been looking for after not getting Schneider. He has the bottle to play abroad (very few British players do) but I think he will move to an English club. Ronaldo, like Morinhio, just wants to go where the love is.


S = Solskjar has done it!

It still makes the hairs on your neck stand up when you hear ITVs brilliant commentary of Ollie’s winner against Munich. United and Sir Alex had won their second European Cup after a 30-year wait and the club back on the way to be the biggest in the world. Another win against Chelsea on pens leaves the club with three in total, well short of Madrid’s eight, Fergusons heart broken after the Real Madrid game in March and that Cuneyt Cakir sending off of Nani, that event the reason why he knew his career was over, controlling refs the way to win the big games now.

The Turkish official was fresh from Turkey’s biggest match fixing scandal that saw 61 people arrested in 2012 from the 2011 season, from players to officials, owners to gangsters, TV people to lawyers. Cuneyt Cakir was appointed to ref the Turkish Cup Final, but not by Turkish FA but the now imprisoned owner of Fernabache. Fern went on to win 4-2 and the match played during the match fixing scandal. There is no declared evidence that this guy is corrupt but he is too fast with the red cards, cards that cost tight games.


T = Time gentleman please

Alex Ferguson, after leaving East Stirlingshire and going to manage St Mirren, briefly owned a pub, The Shaws Bar in Glasgow. Bet he certainly didn’t add on seven minutes at closing time. Out!

U = Unites longest serving manager.
In 2010 SAF passes Sir Matt Busby’s record as Manchester United manager. But he wasn’t the longest serving European manger. A man called Guy Roux occupied the hotseat at French team Auxerre for 44 years, finally stepping down in 2005. In fact Ferguson isn't even the longest serving Scottish manager, Willie Maley running Celtic from 1897-1940, clocking up 43 years.

V = Veron

Veron was Alex biggest mistake, like the sports car, a luxury that didn’t overtake anything in case it got bumps and bangs and so never really left the garage. And he didn’t do headers, either. You would have thought Fergie learnt his lesson before signing Berbatov. The press and fans hounded the twenty million pound player out of the club, resulting in a classic Fergie outburst at a press conference:


“Verón? He’s a fecking greet player. "And you're all fecking idiots."


W = World Brand

Manchester United is valued at three billion on the stock exchange and the share price rose 18% this year alone. It’s all about selling shirts and TV rights around the world now and why Ferguson sometimes had to buy the players he did. The Djembe Djemba’s and Manucho’s, the Park Ji Sungs and Dong Fangzhuos, were clearly bought so to sell shirts in Africa and Asia respectively. They only tended to play in games televised in those countries in prime times although Park did have a decent Old Trafford career, like Kagawa may well. Once United have bought guys like that they increase in value by association, and coupled with merchandising, United make a decent profit. All the big clubs do it and will still be doing it twenty years from now.


X = XXXX salaries

United average player salary today is £67,370 per week! When Sir Alex started at United in 1986, the largest salary was £115,000 a year!


Y = Youth

Last month Dario Graddi of Crewe put out a team that consisted of eleven guys that had all come through the Academy, an astonishing achievement in this day and age of greedy players and agents. Sir Alex Ferguson skill was bringing through that most win attitude with the youth team, the key to his success. He knew it started at the bottom when the kids could be modeled for the task ahead, why he was so fastidious over bringing that youth through. He would visit the parents before he signed anyone he rated and then kept an eye on them as a surrogate parent, famously ripping the likes of Lee Sharpe and Ryan Giggs from house parties around Manchester. He knew if he could get them young to commit to the cause he could build a cup winning side, reflected in names like the Neville’s and Scholes and Giggs that have stayed all through their career. Giggs could have played anywhere in Europe and made even more money but he had been tuned up to win for Sir Alex and so job done.

Z = ZZZZZ

I’m tired of Fergie haters. EVERY club in this country would want the success United have had. And it could have been Spurs as they were ahead of United right up until the last when he left Aberdeen.


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Comments on this review

  • danielclark691 published 28/01/2017
    well covered. Hate the guy personally.
  • koshkha published 12/05/2013
    Truly inspired
  • thedevilinme published 11/05/2013
    your husband will?
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