Who Will Take Over From Fergie At Manchester United?

Can anyone fill this mans shoes?
Can anyone fill this man's shoes?

One day hell will freeze over,the same day pigs will indeed be given the power of flight. Quite probably this will be the same day that Sir Alex Ferguson makes his departure from Old Trafford.

On 6 November 1986 sat behind the managers desk for the first time at the helm of arguably the biggest club in world football, even the human-hairdryer himself could never have predicted the magnitude of success to follow.  It wasn’t straight forward though. He had to wait until winning the FA Cup in 1990 to lift the first trophy of his regime. Despite lifting the now defunct Cup Winners Cup followed by the UEFA Super Cup in 1991, the league trophy had still had not graced the Old Trafford trophy cabinet since the 1966-67 season.  In 1992 Alex Ferguson finally delivered what United hadn’t had since the days of Sir Matt Busby, the league title – picking up the League Cup on the way. What began from this date was the greatest dynasty in modern football.

Ten Premier League titles, five FA Cups three League Cups and two European Cup/Champions League have been won under his tenure to add to the Cup Winners cup, Super Cup, Intercontinental and World Club Cups that he has also picked up. No current manager in European football even comes close to what ‘Fergie’ has achieved at United. Some have suggested that he may retire if he retains the Champions League and Premier League this season – I very much doubt that somehow. But, when the man who has achieved so much in his profession he has even been knighted does finally go, who could possibly replace him?   

These are the biggest shoes to fill in football. The pressure on the new man will be immense. The fans will demand instant success, hardly surprising considering what they are now used to. The glare from the media will be as bright as an exploding star and the expectations from the board room will probably be astronomical. These factors in consideration make this job a very daunting one.

Some have suggested the likes of Steve Bruce and Roy Keane are now doing their apprenticeships for the role. I very much doubt this unless Sir Alex gives it another ten years and either of his former players go on to achieve greatness in the meantime. I believe United will want a proven winner, someone with a superb pedigree who not only has years of his experience – but has already had a top job in football.

Men like this are in short supply. Currently managing in the Premier League one man who fits the bill is Ferguson’s longtime rival, Arsene Wenger. The chances of Arsene taking over though are about as likely as Scunthorpe United winning the Champions League. Rafael Benitez is another that ticks those boxes but the odds on him taking over are about as long as a trip to Neptune on bicycle.

Maybe the board of directors will consider David Moyes of Everton – what he has built there on a relative shoestring is certainly worthy of recognition. Everton however (and with the greatest of respect), are not quite European giants and Moyes is yet to win any silverware – though that could be rectified in this seasons FA Cup final.

 Martin O’ Neill is another worthy of consideration despite being yet to win anything with Aston Villa, he has bought well and propelled them from being mid-table also-rans to contenders for a Champions League spot and playing attractive football in the process. O’Neill also managed a big club in Celtic and picked up numerous trophies there – however winning a scottish title with the biggest club is perhaps not a huge feat. Especally when you consider that the Glasgow clubs (not including Partick Thistle) that Rangers are the only cones capable of challenging anyway.

England manager Fabio Capello is one man that certainly that ticks every box but after hinting at retiring it appears that ship has sailed. The one man in English football that appears to stand out to me is Guus Hiddink.

Hiddink appears to bat away suggestions every week that he will leave his post as Head Coach of the Russian national team and take over Chelsea permanently. Should he fulfill his contract until 2010 then perhaps he could be an option. What he has achieved as a manager over his long career is incredible. In international football he has guided South Korea to a World Cup semi final, reached the knockout stages with Australia and most recently he took a limited Russia team to the European Championships semi final. His club record isn’t bad either aside from a sour spell with Real Madrid – winning 11 trophies with PSV Eindhoven. He could add an FA Cup to that list when his Chelsea team take on Everton in his last game in charge. This could have been part of a cup double had his Chelsea team not missed out on a Champions league final in stoppage time of a controversial tie with red-hot favourites Barcelona.

Outside of the domestic scene there are few to consider. It appears to be a waste of time looking at the Spanish game as noone has time to build anything before being sacked in the current era. With noone raising the eye brows in the Bundesliga or Ligue 1, the Italian league would be logical place to look.

Chelsea target Carlo Ancelotti is certainly one to ponder but should he take over at the London club he may either fall flat on his backside or build a dynasty of his own – both scenarios making a move up north unlikely. Despite Claudio Ranieri performing well with Juventus, he left the English game in a less than amicable fashion and has few major trophies to show for his efforts.

 A ‘little known’ Portuguese fella by the name of Jose Mourinho appears to be the most valid candidate I can possibly think of. His record speaks volumes, everywhere he goes he delivers – particularly at Porto and Chelsea. He is also on the verge of winning Serie A and Supercoppa Italia at walking pace at the first attempt at Internazionale. This would equate to 14 major trophies in just under nine years of management. Perhaps some fans would never warm to him at Old Trafford due to his controversial nature and clinical brand of football but does anyone think he would care or fail? Fergie will probably even put in a good word for him with the Glazers – not that he would need it.

20 thoughts on “Who Will Take Over From Fergie At Manchester United?”

  1. I’m surprised you think Benitez is of the same caliber of Fergie or a suitable replacement. The two men are in two different leagues, damn it’s not the same sport, not the same multiverse.

    I think Mouringo is Fergies replacement. Mourinho has a lot of character, he knows how to win even with bad odds and he can lead the biggest of egos.

    His success is simply incredible at this rate he may give Fergie a run for his money with everything Fergie has accomplished.

    I don’t see Fergie going anytime soon but when he does taking the helm of the biggest club on the planet, a team that is football itself as much as a part of it will have more than enough people leading it.

    Mourinho wants to come back to the Premier League eventually and I think it’s either gonna be Chelsea or United. I doubt he would accept any other teams offer.

    It’ll be sad seeing Fergie go but being replaced by the special one will take away some of the pain. For a team to go from Fergie to Mourinho would be incredible though.

    Their both such special managers with their own often times very controversial style of coaching and play but by god are they successful.

  2. I can not see Fergie leaving the organization even if he gives up his manager role. While it may make sense for him this year to leave the touchline on the top of the world if he retains both titles from last year, what makes people think, other then some Liverpool or Arsenal fans that he will give up football entirely. It seems to me imho that he will retain some authority in the team that has become”his” for so many years.

    If this is the course then the on the pitch boss has to be someone that is willing to take orders from the front office as we say and that narrows the choices to a handful of people that have had an intimate working relationship with Fergie over the years.

  3. Tyson:

    You are surprised that Christopher Walker thinks that Rafael Benitez is of the same caliber of Sir Alex? Do you even follow football? He’s gotten two different sides promoted to Spain’s top division, has won La Liga twice, the UEFA Cup, Champions League, and the FA Cup.

    Take a look at Alex Ferguson’s first 15 years in charge of senior sides in his managerial career and then compare it to Rafael Benitez’s.

  4. Sean I have no idea why you think comparing two managers from two completely different leagues in different time periods makes any sense at all. To be frank I think that is utterly ridiculous.

    If you want to compare managers you compare them in the same league during the same time period. Thats the only fair way to do it since the two teams in the same league would be performing against the same teams and playing the same amount of games.

    Performing well elsewhere is no guaruntee you would perform well in the Premier League. You must be a Liverpool fan because your assertion is ridiculous.

  5. There’s no edit button but I had to add this.

    Big Phil(Felipe Scholari) is one of the greatest managers on the planet and has a proven track history yet we saw what he was capable of when he came to Chelsea.

    Again dreadful comparison your argument holds no weight at all.

    If you want to compare managers same time period same league is the only fair way to do it and in that respect we all know who is the superior manager.

  6. Tyson:

    As you have correctly guessed, I am a Liverpool supporter and, although I admit I am not the most unbiased individual on this topic, there is a lot of credence to what I posted.

    You wrote, “If you want to compare managers you compare them in the same league during the same time period. Thats the only fair way to do it since the two teams in the same league would be performing against the same teams and playing the same amount of games.”

    While that might sound good in theory, it does not work in practice.

    Rafael Benitez had to completely revamp Liverpool. The only players still remaining in the side from before his tenure are Sami Hyypia, Steven Gerrard, and Jamie Carragher. Surely you are not naive enough to genuinely say that it is fair to compare Manchester United to Liverpool under Rafael Benitez when he had to build a side essentially from scratch as well as learn the ways of the Premier League.

    Remember that it took Mr. Ferguson six seasons before he won his first title with United.

    As for your, “Big Phil(Felipe Scholari) is one of the greatest managers on the planet and has a proven track history” comment, have you actually taken a look at the guys CV? He has managed 20 different sides throughout his careers and had not managed a club side in seven years before he took the Chelsea job. Coaching an international side and a club side are two completely different things. It is one thing to have a couple of matches every month and a completely different thing having to compete in the league, Champions League, and cup competitions. Moreover, it could even be argued by some that the Brazil team was so great in 2002 that they did not even need a great manager in order to win the World Cup.

  7. Considering what Sir Alex Ferguson has actually won at Old Trafford I don’t think any manager can favourably compare. After all, Fergie has been at the club for 23 years – no other coach at a major club across the world can even come close to that. Therefore it would have to be managers who have achieved continued relative success at big clubs after having a reasonable reign at a clube. Personally, I feel Rafa’s record compares quite favourably with the other managers mentioned above.

  8. I think it boils down to expectation, and whether the new manager can handle the level of expectation,that he will undoubtably face.
    The managers mentioned all have a case,but 75%-80% of them have not had to handle the high-end level that engulfs Man Utd.
    And as we are continually competing in Europe,would utd trust someone with no european experience?…no.
    Not to mention the fact that utd have debts so utd cant go without a trophy for ages unlike say arsenal.So the new manager needs to be able handle all of that plus the ethics that have been before him, i.e. entertaining football,bringing through the kids etc.

  9. If I had to choose a manager to take over then I would personally want Wenger(it may surprise some considering what ive just posted)but he does have what would be required,i.e. EPL-experience,CPL-experience,good eye for talent,brings through kids and plays good football.
    Plus he would already know what the ethics are,aswell as having senior players like OGS and probably Giggs and Neville coaching.
    Other than that I would be happy enough to see perhaps and only perhaps Martin O´Neill.
    Jose great but does he have the enthusiasm to play kids and notice their progression like Fergie,Wenger or O´Neill?

  10. I think Jose Mourinho is unfairly criticized when it comes to youth development.

    For one, he has never been anywhere long to be given a real opportunity to develop youth. At Chelsea he was told to win ASAP so that hardly afforded him the opportunity. That being said, he did buy the likes of John Mikel Obi, Salomon Kalou, and Arjen Robben.

    Moreover, would Martin O’Neill be so committed to youth at Aston Villa if Villa was a legitimate top four team and could attract older players with greater skill sets?

  11. As I stated in a previous article i think the Chelsea job is a bit of a poisoned chalice with Roman Abramovich in charge. I certainly don’t think Jose would have had the chance to blood the kids with the pressure he was under. I’m not sure if any of the kids came through at Porto to be completely honest. As for Inter, he has’nt been there long enough yet I suppose.

  12. Hey Chris, I hope you do not think my most recent comments were directed at you. I just had a need to say something in Jose’s defense because, a large part of the media is slagging him off in regards to his youth development, completely neglecting the fact that he has not actually had a chance to develop youth.

  13. Though I agree with the fact that Benitez has had to rebuild Liverpool entirely, and I don’t doubt his managerial abilities, I wouldn’t put him that close to Ferguson.

    The biggest issue I would have with Benitez is that he has made quite a few very mediocre signings in his time at Liverpool. The money he has squandered on these players could have easily funded the signing of an out and out winger, something that Liverpool have needed for some time.

    If he decides to sell Alonso in order to bring in Barry, I would seriously begin to question what’s going through his head. Sign a Winger Rafa.

  14. I’m a Liverpool fan but I don’t think Benitez is on the same level as Ferguson.

    You can argue for or against that… but even more important is that Benitez just isn’t a Manchester United-type manager (neither is O’Neill, Hiddink, or Wenger). Manchester United aren’t going to want someone to come in after Fergie and completely change their style.

    I think the Special One has the right skills and attitude and it wouldn’t be too much of a departure from the current. Plus, I’d love to see that guy back in the PL…

    If not him, I think David Moyes would be a good choice if they were willing to take a risk with a “yet to prove” manager.

  15. Thomas:

    Contrary to popular belief, Rafael Benitez has not been in charge of Liverpool’s transfer policy during his tenure at the club. As has been evidenced by the negotiation of his new contract and the stepping aside of Rick Parry at the end of the season, Rick Parry is the man that has been in charge of Liverpool’s transfer policy.

    Moreover, being as skint as Liverpool has been over the last few seasons, it cannot be all that surprising that Liverpool’s signings have been on the mediocre side. Ever since Benitez showed up at Liverpool, they have only had five signings over £10 million (at least I believe so), Djibril Cissé, Dirk Kuyt, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres, and Robbie Keane.

  16. I know you weren’t Sean i was meaning to back Jose about youth policy becasue he hasn’t had the chance to yet. I think to be put in Fergie’s class you need 8-10 years in a job , Rafa hasn’t had that yet, although Mourinho is just a very gifted individual to achieve what he has.

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