Whilst the speculation and arguments continue about who is or who isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to get the Chelsea managerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s job, one job at the top of the English Premiership is still in safe hands.
Sir Alex Ferguson has said that he wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be managing Manchester United for any more than three further years. He says he will retire by the time he is seventy in 2011. What great news for the other teams in the Premier League. Only three more years!
FergieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s record is second to none. Obviously, not many managers get twenty-two years to build up their dynasty but then not many managers could have won three Scottish League titles, four Scottish Cups and a League Cup on top of the European Cup Winners Cup and European Super Cup he won with Aberdeen before he was given the chance.
His record of twenty-two major trophies in twenty-two years for United is very unlikely to ever be challenged by any other manager.
I have never met Sir Alex nor am I likely to. My image of the man is built up, like everybody elseÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, through what I read in the newspapers, watch on television and read in books. That will never give a clear picture of a person but it is the best most of us have.
If you were asked to describe Fergie in one word what would it be? Driven? Successful? Dour? Hard? Angry?
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pretty sure you would have to ask a lot of people before you heard the answer, nice or likeable or friendly or approachable.
Would Sir Alex care about that? Of course he wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. It would be very difficult to stay at the top for as long as he has without having a thick skin and a ruthless side to your character.
Even if you read things about Fergie written by those he has supposedly been ruthless with, Jaap Stam and David Beckham for example, they rarely have a bad word to say about him. Look at difficult people to manage like Eric Cantona and Roy Keane. They will only say nice things about the man.
Would the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville have spent an entire career playing for the man, when greater fortune could have been earned elsewhere, if Fergie really was the cantankerous, dour man portrayed in the media?
Sir Alex Ferguson is a winner. He always has been and much to the annoyance of Peter Kenyon and others, he probably will continue to be a winner until he retires. To be a winner you need to be focussed, driven, ambitious and ruthless when needed. The fact that Sir Alex is all these things doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean he is a bad person.
I have no idea what Fergie is like to spend time with socially but I would be prepared to bet that he would be a great deal better company than his public image would have you believe.
When he does decide to quit Old Trafford he is going to leave one hell of a gap to be filled. The press built up Avram GrantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s task to replace the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœspecial oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ at Stamford Bridge into an almost impossible mission. How do you replace a man who won two league titles and an FA Cup? I would suggest a damn sight more easily than someone who has won twenty-two major trophies!
When Manchester United Chief Executive David Gill was asked about FergieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s comments he immediately played them down. “He has not said that to me. His health and his desire will be the criteria when he makes that decision and we will look at it then.”
Clearly the departure of the main man is not something anyone at the club even wants to contemplate.
Sir Alex says that he is fearful of retirement. “I know I would find it hard to give up managing United. I can’t do it, not at the moment anyway. The big fear about retirement is what do you do with yourself? There are too many cases of people who retire and end up in a box soon afterwards because they have lost the very thing that keeps them alive.”
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure Mrs. Fergie will be thrilled with that comment! Actually, he went on to say, “My wife Cathy was the one who talked me out of retiring last time but she would not do that now. The older you get, the more you feel guilty about it. I think my wife deserves a bit of my time too.”
When his time comes to hand over the reins at Old Trafford it is difficult to see anyone being able to step up to the mark.
Who do you Manchester United fans think might be able to follow in the great manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s footsteps?
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