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Slipperduke

The Camden Cad
Joined
Aug 24, 2004
Messages
4,333
Location
North London
You would think that Sir Alex Ferguson would know better, wouldn’t you? The last time he announced retirement plans, before the start of the 2001/02 season, Manchester United completely lost their focus and slumped like a Tottenham player at closing time. Between October and December of that awkward season, with constant speculation on the identity of his successor, United won just once in seven games, losing five and dropping to ninth in the table as Christmas approached. As the festive period arrived, his family told him to consider staying on and the victories returned. It was too late to save the title that season, but with Ferguson committed to the future, they snatched it back in 2002/03.

“Maybe three years more,” reported the Daily Mirror yesterday, “then I’ll finish.”

What on earth did he say that for? Now we’re going to have to put up with 36 months of speculation on his replacement. Ferguson will recommend his assistant Carlos Queiroz as the next in line for the throne, but after his disastrous season at Real Madrid, I think I’ve got as much chance as him of landing that job. Keep in mind that Steve McClaren also had Fergie’s favour in 2001, but the board had other ideas and stepped in to prevent what could have been the most hilarious change in fortunes in the history of the game. You know, whenever I feel blue, I like to sit back and ponder how that one would have worked out. It always cheers me up.

Ferguson is, I think, the most successful British manager of all time now. Bob Paisley may have won bigger at Liverpool, but he didn’t have to rebuild a borderline relegation side first. Brian Clough won the European Cup twice with Nottingham Forest and the League with Derby County, which is unfathomable now, but he couldn’t hold a dynasty together at the very top for nearly 20 years. Unfortunately it is Ferguson’s unparalled success that prevents him from seeing the danger approaching on the horizon.

Veteran players often ruefully joke that, for them, there is no such thing as an off-day. When an thirty-something struggles in a game, people assume that they’re past it. Unfortunately the same prejudice applies to managers. Sir Bobby Robson discovered this at Newcastle in 2004 when his fifth place finish and a run to the Semi-Finals of the UEFA Cup was judged to be evidence of his waning powers. Freddy Shepherd refused to offer him a new contract, announced that Robson was off at the end of the following season and then sacked him anyway, just four games into the next campaign. What would Newcastle fans do if Keegan managed a top five finish? They’d be delirious, wouldn’t they? Ferguson may think himself immune to this irrational syndrome, but he’s not.

Just bringing up the subject puts doubt in everyone’s mind. Granted, he’s not lost the edge yet, but what about the next defeat? Will that be the product of his age, his loss of desire? No? What about the next time he loses two games back-to-back? What about next season if United start slowly again? After all, Ferguson is popular now, but remember that 18 months ago, United fans were protesting against him outside the Carrington training ground. Sooner or later, they’ll hit a bad patch of form and then people will start to question whether it’s worth waiting three years to make a change.

Ferguson deserves to have a triumphant exit with silverware in his hand and applause ringing in his ears, but I fear that this innocent comment will only hasten an undignified departure.
 

sufcintheprem

This is a modified caption
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
10,185
Location
Putney
I think Ferguson's too similar to Schmeichel in that he would love to retire at the pinnacle of the game but most likely won't be able to do it.

In fairness, it looks as though the current team is not going to peak for another year or two. Anderson in particular looks like he may be able to more than replace Paul Scholes which I'm reluctant about even typing because of Scholes' calibre. It also seems easy to forget that Tevez and probably Ronaldo/Rooney still have better years ahead of them.
 

sufcintheprem

This is a modified caption
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
Messages
10,185
Location
Putney
I see where they are coming from, though. If an organisation made that sort of allegation towards me where no charges were subsequently even brought then I'd be pretty peeved.

It is a strange situation though. Has there been any legal action from either party? Surely if the BBC were in the wrong, there was a case for defamation of character? If the revelation was as ground-breaking as they made out then why have no charges been brought against Ferguson/Redknapp(/Allardyce for that matter)?

It seems to me that the BBC programme has proved nothing and certianly not been the revelation it implied.
 

EastStandBlue

Life President
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
15,481
If I was in the same position I sure as hell would have no business with the BBC again...

They made accusations against two experienced, well respected figures of the game with little to absolutely no evidence, tarnishing their reputations. More fool the BBC for being stupid enough to broadcast such blatantly defamatory material.
 

Yorkshire Blue

Super Moderator⭐
Staff member
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
36,150
Location
London
I see where they are coming from, though. If an organisation made that sort of allegation towards me where no charges were subsequently even brought then I'd be pretty peeved.

It is a strange situation though. Has there been any legal action from either party? Surely if the BBC were in the wrong, there was a case for defamation of character? If the revelation was as ground-breaking as they made out then why have no charges been brought against Ferguson/Redknapp(/Allardyce for that matter)?

It seems to me that the BBC programme has proved nothing and certianly not been the revelation it implied.

I think the bungs inquiry came to the conclusion that there were shall we say "murky goings on", but basically couldn't pin anything against them.

Whilst it would be difficult to establish the absolute defence of truth (although unlike a criminal trial it would be balance of probabilities rather than beyond reasonable doubt), certain managers would be keen not to perjure themselves and there are probably numerous questions they'd rather not answer.
 
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