On 6th November 2011 the Great Old Scott of modern football Sir Alex Ferguson would complete his 25 years at the helm of Manchester United. Sir Alex has witnessed the transition from a club dipped in sorrow after the Munich air crash to a club which is overwhelmed with happiness after winning the 19 English Premier League title and by doing so becoming the top club in England. This doesn’t end the list of his contribution to the illustrious club, he has helped the club to get acclimatised to modern day football, he has helped boys grow into men of honour and shown the world a Manager is not only about winning silverwares but also about merging his principles with the core of the club. Frankly speaking it’s really difficult to see a Manager beyond the end of Ferguson era, I don’t think there would be a manager who can chew the fear of the opponent as he chews his gum, I don’t think any manager can play the mind games as if he is the Professor X of football world, I don’t think there can be a manger who at the age of 69 jumps high into the air with happiness as his headed goal is going to decide the match and in simple words it would be the worst nightmare for the Red Devil’s faithful if they think there can be any other Sir Alex Ferguson.
Milestones in the Life of the Great Scott:
1986 – FIRST GAME – Oxford United 2-0 Manchester United: He manages the first game as Manchester United manager against Oxford and is deservedly won by the hosts with a score-line of 2-0. But the interesting point to be noticed is that the Manor ground no longer exists on the football map this shows why Ferguson is the Great old Scott.
1990 – FIRST TROPHY – It took three seasons for Ferguson to bring his first silverware to Manchester United when they defeated Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final. But these four seasons were not easy as he many times it was rumoured that the sacking of Ferguson was very close but the Old Trafford believed in him and it’s this belief whose result is visible to the world right now.
1993 – FIRST EPL TITLE – With the signing of Eric Cantona it was as if the Manchester side were playing with a motive to prove and that is why it’s always said Cantona was the best brand ambassador Nike could get for their new range ‘Joga Bonito’ which meant the beautiful game and I say that because that is how the Red Devils treated football that season. And the result for the hard work was first EPL title for Ferguson and it ended a 26 years old Premier League title drought for the Red Devils.
1996 – AGE NO BARS – The phrase ‘You’ll win nothing with kids’ came back to haunt Alan Hansen as Fergie’s young warriors shrugged off a slow start to pip Newcastle to the league title and beat Liverpool in the FA Cup final.
1999 – THE YEAR OF THE TREBLE – Winning a treble is the best achievement a manger can get and when we are talking about Sir Alex Ferguson a noob in the field of football would also say Ferguson must have won a treble. So for Ferguson 1998-99 season was the year of treble, when his side reclaimed the league title from Wenger’s Arsenal, shrugged of Newcastle with ease in the FA Cup final and achieved a Hollywood style twisted climax victory against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League Final.
1999 – FROM ALEX FERGUSON TO SIR ALEX FERGUSON – Didn’t want to add this in the initial section as didn’t want to take away the shine of this milestone. Two weeks after winning the treble Ferguson received the knighthood in recognition of his service to the game.
2010 – LONGEST SERVING MANAGER – In the December of 2010 Sir Ferguson overtook Sir Matt Busby as the longest serving manager in the history of football. It actually makes you feel is there any silverware or any personal honour in the field of football where you wouldn’t find Ferguson’s name.
2011 – MANCHESTER UNITED BEST CLUB IN ENGLAND – In England The Red Devils were always considered second best to Liverpool mainly because for a long time as they had less number of Premier League titles. But all this changed when at the end of 2010-11 season as United were crowned the EPL winners they left behind Liverpool who had 18 titles where as now the Red Devils were the proud winners of 19 titles. And one of the reasons why Ferguson can hold his head high is out of these 19 titles 12 are the result of his hard work and his leadership.
Best IX To Have Played Under Ferguson:
This next section is from the eyes of a non Red Devil fan so you can pardon my IX if they seem too recent. The sole reason being I have grown seeing these players play under the Master Magician Sir Ferguson. The line-up that I could come up is 3-4-2-1, which was the only way i could put up the dream team for United.
If there is any complete forward after Luiz Ronaldo whom you would call a treat to your eyes it has to be Wayne Rooney. After Euro 2004 Rooney was the player in demand by most of the clubs in the world but the 18 year old decided to grow under the wings of Ferguson. He might be temperamental but it’s Ferguson who saw his worth and showed the youngster the path to glory.
Perhaps the best signing of Ferguson and perhaps the best gift of Ferguson to all the football lovers, Ronaldo who played 196 games for the Devils scored 84 and assisted with the same fluency with which he scored was surely a prized asset for Ferguson for the time he was at Old Trafford. It’s like Ferguson was the director for a movie titled ‘How to turn £12.24 million to £80 million’ starring Cristiano Ronaldo.
Dubbed by his fans as King Cantona and God for others, as I said earlier Cantona was the lucky charm for Ferguson because with his signing came the first league title for Ferguson. He was one of the most prolific goal scoring midfielder of his time with a goal in almost every two matches that’s what was the value of King Cantona and now the Joga Bonito man.
Somewhere I read a perfect description of Giggs it said “The Welshman has gone from boy wonder to senior statesmen”, how true this statement is after all right now Giggs is the man with highest number of achievements in EPL.
Ferguson always was and still is a father figure for the golden boy of Manchester United; Beckham was one of the driving forces for the Red Devils behind the treble season. Beckham was a combined graft with craft on his best days.
The real value of the Ginger Prince was apparent after his retirement when it was said United’s midfield shall always feel the absence of Scholes. Scholes a one-club man came on to the big stage in 1994 and since then won 10 Premier League, 3 FA Cup and 2 UEFA Champions League medals under the guidance of his mentor and his scout Sir Alex Ferguson.
Can any United dream team be complete without the no-nonsense captain Roy Keane? He might not have been super skilled but he made up for it with his work ethics and his leadership quality, he was the go to guy for Ferguson whenever he needed any suggestions. Many of my United fan friends still say in place of giving a captains arm-band. Old Trafford captain should wear a jersey with Keane’s name on it. As a matter of fact Manchester United needed a Keane when there was a Vieira playing for Arsenal.
Rio is the second best gift of Leeds United to Manchester United, yes I rate him below Cantona. But the best gift for United’s defense, over the past nine seasons undoubtedly has been one of the most consistent players in the side and always the first choice CB for Ferguson.
Bought for 625000 pounds from Oldham Athletic and spent 12 wonderful years at Old Trafford this speaks volume about the kind of purchase Ferguson is known for. There was close competition between him and Evra but Irwin value for money edged Evra for a place in the squad.
Another of the Fergie’s Fledglings of the 1990s, if you say the word right-back to any Old Trafford faithful the first name he would say is Gary Neville. Neville spent 10 long years and his link ups with Beckham on the right flank is still missed by many of his followers.
The undisputed numero Uno for Manchester United for many years to come, an intimidating figure between the sticks what else do you expect when you see a 6ft 4in tall 103kg weighing man. He got the best going away present when he captained the Manchester United side that completed the treble with the victory against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League final.
After a quarter of a century only word Ferguson used to describe his journey was ‘fairytale’ and for many of the Manchester United faithful it meant 37 trophies. Only thing I can say is Old Trafford has been lucky enough to have managers like Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson who have transformed how the world perceives the Red Devils. These are the managers who thrived on their hunger to achieve great heights and believed that a manager can only grow along with the club & knew at the end it’s going to be the club which shall substitute his own identity.