This was the day every Manchester United fan dreaded. 8th May, 2013 will change Manchester United and English football forever. Manchester United have on Wednesday confirmed Sir Alex Ferguson will leave the club at the end of this season after spending 27 years at Old Trafford. Ferguson, will now be made director and ambassador at the club.
A United statement read, “The most successful manager in English football history will bow out after the West Bromwich Albion game on 19 May and join the football club board.”
When Alex Ferguson took the reins at United, 9,680 days ago, 17 players in United’s current squad had not even been born. Ferguson has won 49 trophies as a manager making him the most successful British football manager in history that includes 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League trophies during his tenure at Old Trafford.
In the past he has always stressed on the fact that his health would be the primary factor whenever he decides to hang up his boots. Earlier this week, Ferguson has stated that he will be undergoing hip surgery this summer and that might be one of the reason he hung his boots.
With a 20th EPL title in the bag, Ferguson will sign off on a high note. There were even rumors that he would have retired last season had United not lost the league to Manchester City in the dying seconds of the last season. But still, is it the right time for him to retire?
This current Manchester United team is not by a long shot the best we have seen under Ferguson. But surely they have enough in them to maintain their domestic dominance in the coming few years. The team has a perfect balance of experience and youth in the squad. Young players such as David de Gea, Rafael, Phil Jones, Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez are potentially world class, while Michael Carrick, Nemanja Vidic and Robin van Persie are currently at their peak.
With his departure now, United will be a far weaker lot next season. Without Fergie, this current United squad would lose their X-factor and need significant investment in the summer. A new manager – whether it is David Moyes, Jose Mourinho or Eric Cantona – will find it very difficult to maintain the standards Ferguson has set. The biggest factor that puts Ferguson a cut above the rest is the winning mentality and the backing he provides to his players.
The way Manchester United is run at the moment will also change following the Scotsman’s departure. United’s board would need to give their new manager a big welcoming gift in the form of two or three big signings as he would try to build his own team. The current players may get insecure about their position in the club and there will be new manager favourites. We also might see the end of Nani, Anderson, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia. These four players were heavily backed by Ferguson despite their poor form last season.
Manchester United would experience a big change they have not seen since November 1986. Everyone knew that one day this will eventually happen, but without Ferguson, the EPL will never be the same. We all will miss his famous rants in the United pressers, his quotes and for sure the mind games. But one thing is for sure; his name will always be chanted in the Old Trafford stands like none other.