|"A sight I always hated, but now appreciate"|
Growing up with the blood of Arsenal flowing through my veins, I hated Alex Ferguson. I hated his dull Scottish tones and emotionless expression, malicious public attitude towards adversaries like Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez, the extended periods of injury time at Old Trafford he seemed to bully referees into, and his incessant moaning about every decision made against his club.
However, more than anything, I hated how, from the first Premier League title he secured in 1992; as manager of Manchester United, up until his retirement twenty-one years later, he never dropped an inch in keeping the Red Devils one of football's world greats… not once, not even a months worth. Every other fan expected and waited for the inevitable fall of Manchester United; Ferguson however, was far too stubborn to allow that to happen...
In that period he saw off the challenges of Leeds, Liverpool, Blackburn, Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City; all top quality sides with an eye on the throne of England's kingpin. Not only this, but as an average player has a shelf life of two decades maximum, created at least five completely different squads; each as unbeatable as the last. Even the few major final defeats or slip ups in the league, were always by mere inches. And only now he has retired, do I feel his achievements can receive the true retrospective credit they deserve; at least outside of Manchester, anyway.
The current struggles of Manchester United and David Moyes, are not as much an indication of his lack of ability as a manager, as much as they are a reminder of how close to perfection Ferguson was. Now as a mature adult, I can see how his emotionless expressions were a way to protect the club from the negative media circus which hinders young, impressionable professional minds. How his attitude towards other managers was a means to gain psychological advantage once on the pitch, and the moaning and bullying, just part of the nature of a Scotsmen hardened by the merciless streets of Govan. Ferguson played the game at the very highest level, and at that level - while you need passion, humility, and determination, you also need to be a little ruthlessly Machiavellian in parts; and the man was a true artisan in the art of war.
In many ways, Alex Ferguson is the Rocky Marciano of football. A man who took many a blow, endless beatings, and fought tooth and nail all wherever his side took to battle. Yet in the end, was never truly beaten in a fight. Of course, just to remind everyone where my loyalties lie, Ferguson must remember one thing; he never went a full Premier League season unbeaten. I guess he will have to contend with his 13 Premier Leagues, 5 F.A Cups, 4 League Cups, 10 Charity Shields, 2 Champions Leagues, and a European Cup Winners Cup, instead...
If you enjoyed this article, CLICK HERE and Like my Official Fan Page.