Who is Going to Replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United?

When one thinks of Manchester United, Sir Alex almost immediately comes to mind. He represents, passion, pride, intellect, desire and most of all – winning.  For most United fans, the idea of the Red Devils being coached by none other than the Scot is just simply unthinkable. Since 1986, Sir Alex’s tenure with the club has been rich in great achievements featuring some of the best players ever.  However, although he may seem so, Sir Alex is not immortal. While his spirit and hunger will never diminish, the 69 year old behind so many of United’s greatest moments will unfortunately have to step down at some point.

Although it will be a dark day when Fergie retires, its something Manchester United have to prepare for. Chief executive David Gill has already said that Sir Alex will help in finding his own replacement. He stated, “I will co-ordinate the process, but, clearly, I will take great store in what he [Ferguson] says and what other key people at the club say. The owners will clearly have a view. All these things will come together. It would be a collective body, not a big body, but we would get all the input to make sure we make the appropriate choice.”

Who the “appropriate choice” is to replace Sir Alex is up in the air. The media’s candidate   repeatedly linked with United is none other than “The Special One” Jose Mourinho. Whether it is due to his personality or accomplishments, no one seems more destined to warm the manager’s seat in the dugout. The current Real Madrid coach has made no secret of his interest with Manchester United.
“I have big jobs left in me that is for sure – but I can’t commit to which ones,” the News of the World quoted Mourinho as saying, “If you want me to rule out ever being Manchester United manager I can’t.” After talking about the desire of big clubs for special managers, he admitted, “So I am sure when Sir Alex retires they will look at the best managers in the world and I certainly fall into that category.”

There are many factors in favor of Mourinho being the new manager of Manchester United. First of all, when it comes to the successor of Ferguson, a larger than life personality will be needed to deal with the pressure and scrutiny.  While most coaches would wilt under the attention, Mourinho would embrace it. His history speaks for itself since he has won domestic and European honors with the likes of Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Real Madrid. He is out to conquer the world and winning with Manchester United would do wonders for his inflated ego. Even Sir Alex is an admirer as he has developed great mutual respect with Mourinho which could one day translate into Fergie’s faith in having him as his successor.

However, there are some issues that could get in the way of Mourinho’s arrival. While he is a world-class coach when it comes to tactics, there are those who are against his defensive style. Figure heads like legend Bobby Charlton aren’t fans of Mourinho’s conservative strategies to victory. Manchester United has always been for attacking football and many see Mourinho as not being fit to maintain that tradition. Another factor is that Mourinho probably isn’t a long-term option. In the last few years, Mourinho has bounced around from one country to another in order to truly conquer Europe. He has never stayed with a team for longer then 3 years which gives the impression that he would only be a temporary option.

At the end of the day, Mourinho is certainly the most high profile option and considered by many to be the favorite to take over for Fergie. However, there are other options as well.

David Moyes, the Scottish manager of Everton, always seems to come up in discussions after Mourinho. Many have been impressed with how he has made Everton a consistent force to be reckoned with while working with limited resources. He has also been widely recognized for utilizing his youth academy which is a tradition that is adopted at Old Trafford as well. Last year, Sir Alex himself was noted as saying that he would deeply consider Moyes as his successor.  However, there are things against him as a replacement like his lack of experience managing high-profile teams. He recently stated his desire to coach Celtic because he used to play for them. Then, there is also the problem of him having to coach Wayne Rooney whose time at Everton ended in a rather messy fashion to say the least. There is likely still bad blood between the two considering Moyes went as far as taking the Liverpudlian striker to court for libel.  Could the two put their differences aside and work together at another club?

Other options include Martin O’Neil, the Irishman who like David Moyes, took the Premier League club Aston Villa to great heights with a limited budget. He is a great player’s coach who gets the best out of his squad and uses superb tactics to tangle with the big boys of England. However, like Moyes, is O’Neil experienced enough to take over United?

After that, there are the long shots to look at. One candidate could very well be the one man who has been able to consistently beat Sir Alex in recent years, Sep Guardiola. The Catalan currently is under contract with Barcelona until 2012. While the odds of his leaving are miniscule, strange things can always happen in football. Guardiola is certainly one of the best coaches in the world as his possession-oriented tactics has lead to his team playing beautiful football which would be cherished at Old Trafford.

There are also the likes of former United players who could take over. Legends like Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce, Roy Keane, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have all been thought of as potential candidates. However, nothing would be as spectacular as seeing King Eric become the next manager. Cantona is certainly a fan favorite and would be welcomed to the club despite his lack of coaching experience. He has, in the past, hinted at his interest in the manager’s role if he was ever offered the position. While the odds of current lead director of the New York Cosmos are very slim, his name will always be thrown out there until someone else is chosen to take over United.

In all, nobody really knows who will replace Sir Alex Ferguson including the Scot himself. It’s a position that could either raise a manager’s career to unimaginable heights or quickly blow up in their face. The executive board is confident they will be ready to replace Sir Alex once that dark day comes. However, things at the moment will remain status quo as Manchester United will look for their 20th league title and possibly revenge against Barcelona in the Champions League. When David Gill was asked when Sir Alex would step down, he remarked, “We never discuss it, put it that way. He delegates well and football keeps him young.”

22 thoughts on “Who is Going to Replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United?”

  1. Jose will take over..FACT! and im sick of Moyes been linked with Untied 10 years he’s been at Everton and won Jack he’s not good enough and never will be.

    1. Moyes has done a lot considering the limited resources he’s had to deal with. I think he reminds many of Fergie himself.

  2. Laurent Blanc. If he does well with France at the Euros next year.
    He was a favourite with sir Alex, and taught Rio everything he knows.

    1. That is another interesting rumor. I don’t know how long he’ll be with France especially if he does well. Certainly another candidate to consider down the road.

      1. Yeh, Blanc had a very good start at Bordeaux. Has it been maintained and whats the situation now with him cos I have not kept up with his progress. Mourinho is the cliche choice. While on the one hand he has not stayed at any club for more than a few years. Its arguable that Man Utd is the job he craves most and the one he wants to forever be associated with when his career is over. Plus he will also have the aspiration to be a legend like Fergie and for that to happen u need to be linked to a specific club. For example Wenger, Fergie, Shankly etc are legends because of the clubs they are associated with, but other managers like Capello etc what club comes to mind when u think of them, only their present clubs. So when their retired they wont have that legend aura, (hope that makes sense)

  3. What a ridiculous and pointless article by an ill-informed journalist! It was just a sensationalist headline to draw attention to a mediocre, “pie in the sky”, article about nothing!?
    In my opininon Mourinho will be the next man at the helm at OT, the negatives you point out,”He has never stayed with a team for longer then 3 years which gives the impression that he would only be a temporary option”, if you had done your research Jose said he actually wanted to stay at Chelsea for life & he is looking to one day end up at “family club”, which he can stay for his career. As for his defensive tactics…he’s finding them pretty hard to implement in a Real team of 10 wannabe strikers & a keeper! Nice warm up for Old Trafford I’d say!
    As for “Pep” not “Sep” Guardiola, has said he would like to move in two or three years and fancies working in England so there’s your,”miniscule odds of leaving”, out the window! Do some journalistic research before you write another article! Rant over.

  4. First of all, it was an article based off speculation. Saying it was about nothing is just nonsensical.
    Second-Oh yeah Mourinho really looks like the kind of guy who settles down with one team. His history really does prove it and besides, he’s been linked with the head coaching job at Portugal later on his career possibly after United. The thought of him going back to Chelsea just isn’t happening.
    Third-What is the point of your argument about his defensive tactics. I’m not sure how to even respond.
    Fourth-I wrote “Sep” instead of “Pep” which was a simple mistake. Just because someone says one thing, it doesn’t mean its going to happen. He says he fancies coaching in England but who doesn’t? There is no way of predicting when he’ll go and honestly, if he keeps winning at Barca, do u really think the team is going to let him go anytime soon?
    Finally-Just because u have a couple of miniscule quotes and a difference of opinion, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t do proper research. I always spend good time researching my articles and most of the ones that I post on here, epltalk, mlstalk, and laligatalk are well-received.

  5. Of all the pages of this Ilk that I read & all the damning comments at the bottom that are posted, I pick the one to respond to that the author reads the comments and takes offence!
    Perhaps it was just the combination of being too hot & bothered and having a bad day that caused me to respond in such a manner. Apologies if I was too harsh re; research etc..
    Fair enough it was a speculative article, I imagine it was to envoke a response? It did with me.
    I do still believe that Mourinho would be at Chelsea if Abramovich hadn’t sacked him? Do you not agree? If so that’s a pretty serious tenure for a manager nowadays!?
    He said himself that he didn’t feel like Italy was the place for him & has long mooted a return to England, as you say, not Chelsea. Then really Old Trafford is the only place?
    I think he would look to stay at Old Trafford for a long long time. I think the 25years at one club that Fergie has put in so far wont be repeated for a long while, but I think it’s a little unfair to call Mourinho’s loyalty into question?
    As for the defensive tactics issue, my point was that managing a team like Real I think he is having to learn to play more attacking football & this stands him in great stead for the United job?
    As for Sep err Pep, (no offense) ;o). That’s a fair point about Barca not wanting him to leave & I’m hoping he wont need to leave “anytime soon” as Fergie wont be going anywhere for a fair fews years!?
    Finally, apologies again if I attacked your journalistic integrity. Cant remember ever seeing the author post a response on any column Ive read before!?
    So fair play for reading and responding.

    1. Abramovich should have never sacked Mourinho in the first place. The problem is that Abramovich has no patience and only surrounds himself with “yes” men who support every decision he makes. He doesn’t speak to the media and it seems like there is no one there to tell him what not to do. I hope Old Trafford is the only place for him.
      No one in any sport does 25 years at one club anymore. I do question Mourinho’s loyalty a little bit because he’s out to win in every country. I respect him for trying to conquer Europe but I wouldn’t trust him as my manger for beyond 3 years.
      Real Madrid is more attacking but against Barca, the only chance he has is playing defensively. It seems like he plays attacking football against lesser teams but in big matches, he’s going to load up his own box. That’s not good at United.
      Amen to that about Guardiola. If Fergie could go for another 3-4 years, maybe by then things could change. Who knows, anything can happen.
      Its cool. I just don’t like it when people take shots at my writing because I’m an aspiring journalist and I put a lot of time, thought and research in all of my articles. What can I say, I’m always ready to defend my work.

  6. To be fair when evaluating Mourinho, he always took to the next step while moving, from Porto to Chelsea and from Inter to Real. Chelsea to Inter was never his intention. So, I really don’t think he is a temporary option, given there is no bigger place to manage than Old Trafford. That said, as a Man Utd fan, I would love him to be a temporary option, and by temporary, I mean anywhere between 5 – 10 years. My reasoning is that he delivers the trophies and Man Utd should not go into another 26 year title drought as it happened last time. But unfortunately, he plays negative football, and this is solely based on watching Real Madrid themselves playing boring football. And that is the main reason he has to be temporary, and should stay as long as he delivers the titles.

    I like David Moyes and O’Neill but like you say, they may not have it in them to be larger than life (c’mon, being the manager at OT is to take severe punishments such as 5 match bans in your stride). They might end up like Roy Hodgson at Liverpool.

    I think you are joking when referring to Cantona. He might end up doing an Alan Shearer and leave us in the second tier. Ofcourse I would love nothing more than any of Fergie’s fledglings to take up the post, but as Fergie says, no man is bigger than the club, and every decision should be taken in mind of elevating the club, even if that means bringing in Kenny Dalglish 😛 (that’s a joke btw).

    1. Daglish…now that’s a joke hahahaha
      Getting more than 3 years out of Mourinho is like a century in my mind. I don’t think United will have a post-Busby fallout once Fergie retires. I’m confident is building the future of the squad for another competent manager to run with the ball. Real Madrid are shameful to watch at times considering how boring they are with the talent they have.
      I could definitely see Moyes or O’Neil falling out like Hodgson. Some managers just do better with mid-level teams. (Look at the job Hodgson did with the Baggies).
      Cantona is just pub talk hahahaha. I don’t think he’ll be the manager but his name comes up in discussion a lot (though probably not in a serious manner).

      1. Maybe Fergie might seriously consider Sparky. He exceeded expectations at Man C and was good at Fulham. Its just that he seems so quiet, except when shaking hands with Mancini.
        And how about Ancelotti ? He has another 10 years of top level management stuff left in him.

        1. Hughes is another Fergie fledgling to consider but he hasn’t impressed enough to convince me he’s fit for the United job. Carlo Ancelotti is someone I respect a lot and is definitely a consideration down the road.

  7. Wen we talk of som1 replacin fergie lets talk about som1 wit d same mentality as him i.e mentality of winin every match u play & every trophy u context n even givin young players d chance 2 showcase dia talent n d higher level and best competition(CL&EPL)pls i wil nid u 2 raise dis mata next, How’ll Alex defeat barca and can any team beat barca hands down? MUFC till i die

  8. When we talk of someone replacing Sir Alex let’s talk of paul
    scholes,Gary Neville and Steve Bruce because they’re a great
    players when playing at the club meanwhile choosing Mourinho as
    manager was very bad.

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