Monday, May 13, 2013

(Sports) Football: Fergie’s Legacy at the Polls


With Sir Alex Ferguson announcing his intentions to retire when Manchester United’s successful 2012/2013 ends and his successor already named and in place to takeover, there has been much discussion over the legacy of the Scot’s incredible success over so many years and the praise for his service has been wide and unending.

It also appears in a YouGov/ The Sun poll on the legacy of the soon to be ex-United boss that his achievement have not gone unnoticed as Ferguson was voted as the greatest British football manger of all time securing nearly half of the vote beating revered  managerial legends such Bryan Clough, Bill Shankly,  Bobby Robson handily for the honor [1].

 While Man Utd fans would have like for him to go on forever as he has managed to orchestrate success with a squad many United fans and observers see as the weakest he has ever had at his disposal in his nearly three decade stay at Old Trafford, Nearly 80% though his retirement was the right decision[2]. They also thought that Ferguson replacement was the right one as soon to be United boss David Moyes was voted ahead of  Jose Mourinho  by a thirteen point margin when asked “who would you most like to see replace Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United”[3].

Eric Cantona (19%), Cristiano Ronaldo (14%) and Ryan Giggs (12%) were voted as Ferguson’s best signings as all three has played their part in the overarching arc that was Ferguson rule over one of the most successful periods in football history[4]. However, while Ferguson’s ability to spot and develop talent has been one of the cornerstones behind United’s sustained success, it occasionally did betray him with Eric Djemba-Djemba (9%), Michael Owen (8%) and Owen Hargreaves (8%)  topping the list of his worst signings[5].

However, while most Man Utd observers would put players such as Massimo Taibi, Kleberson, Juan Sebastian Veron  (whose stay at Old Trafford still disappoints me to this day)  much higher up the list  as  Ferguson’s  worst pieces of business in the transfer market, it can be argued that all three did not contribute much to the United cause, particularly Owen and Hargreaves.

The country largely agreed with the decision Ferguson made with regards to playing staff particularly his decision to sell David Beckham to Real Madrid as two-thirds of the public thought it he was right to sell Beckham[6]. While the British public thought Ferguson a great role in reducing “peoples respect for referees”, one would point out to this majority that the almost pathological and vociferous disrespect shown towards referees from fellow managers, players and fans has been around longer than Ferguson has and will be around long after him (trust me , disrespect towards referees will not ease because Ferguson decided to call it a day). Managers, justifiably at times,  constantly target  referees for perceived bad decisions, players and fans hurl abuse at referees louder, harder and more consistently on one Saturday afternoon than the 26 years’ worth of touchline  ear-bashings Ferguson dished out to referees.

The public view of United future without Ferguson is less than complimentary to Moyes as 55% of respondents thought that United “will do less well without Alex Ferguson” and a measly 3% think that United “will do better with Alex Ferguson”[7]. This skepticism towards Man United maintaining its dominance of British football is clearly the motivation behind large majority of respondents favoring Ferguson’s future involvement at the club as respondents think that “Ferguson should continue to involve himself in the club’s future, offering his advice and experience to his successor”[8].

While it would be suffocating and ego crushing for Moyes to have Ferguson over his shoulder, watching his every move and questioning his decisions especially after Ferguson ruled and ruled absolutely for most of his stay (mostly because of his continued success), Moyes is not foolish enough to let his ego get in the way of taking advice or using the experience of the most successful manager in the history of the sport. Moyes is not stupid enough to shun Ferguson just as much as a boxer wouldn’t dream of shunning jab and footwork advice from Ali nor a tennis player neglecting tips on backhand returns from Federer.   

In sum, the game will not feel the same without watching Ferguson on the touchline , chewing a pack Wrigley’s and a fourth official head  at the same time, but the show must go on and a new Scotsman will take the helm and hopefully replicate the success that has spoiled United fans rotten. Alex Ferguson will never be forgotten at United and football in general and his legacy is now to be what fellow manager will find easy to envy and  impossible to match.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...