What’s next for Manchester United as the Red Devils try to predict a future without Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm? The managerial mastermind jumped with joy as Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic stepped aside and allowed the living legend to hoist the Barclays Premier League for United’s record 20th time. At 71, “Fergie Time” has come and the aging Scot seems quite pleased with his successes over the years, and looks forward to retirement.
“I’ve not thought about what it will be like on Monday morning, but I don’t think it will be an issue. I’ve always been driven to take on a challenge and I have many things to keep me busy [...] But Sunday will be my last game and we are here now. 1,500 matches with this club is quite incredible.”
His will to win is contagious. The undying support that Manchester United supporters have provided him throughout his 26 years in charge have been nothing short of astonishing. Without question, Fergie is going to go down as one of the best managers of all time, and his accolades can surely prove his worth: 13 EPL titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 10 Community Shields, 2 Champions League titles, 1 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup, and a FIFA Club World Cup.
Ferguson’s success as a manager does not begin nor end with the numerous medals he’s acquired over the years. Instead, he’s always delivered a unique perspective that seemed to work nearly every season – mixing youth with that of aging veterans. With the current squad consisting of Rio Ferdinand, Vidic, Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie, all allow for the immense development of the younger generations of Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, and Danny Welbeck. He’s allowed every player the ability to flourish at a world renewed club and seems as if he’s even increased the longevity of players careers – Giggs is nearing 39 years old and still going strong. The inter-squad competition that Ferguson has put in place sets the ground work that other clubs have adopted throughout the years.
The no-nonsense precedent that Sir Alex always put forward will remain at the forefront of his philospophy even heading into United’s last Premier League match of the season. A true changing of the guard is coming forth for United as both Fergie and Paul Scholes are set to retire, but that is not stopping the mastermind from upholding a strict game-plan.
“I’ll make some changes to the team and play some of the younger ones on Sunday. Anders Lindegaard will be in goal and I want to play Phil Jones and Jonny Evans at centre half as they could be the future. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic can sit on the bench with me.”
Never resting on his laurels, Sir Alex Ferguson is certainly not a dime a dozen. The steadfast manager always remained professional in his position, while enticing the media with his comments and the numerous questionable squad selections – but always managing to prove his critics wrong.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s statement on retirement certainly felt more like an obituary than a retirement speech – but that is because Fergie’s all United fans have ever known. For over a quarter of a century the Scot now steps aside to pursue his life, beyond football. Yet the question remains, where do United go from here? The obvious answer if David Moyes whom United fans should all look to to provide their continuous support to such a storied club. The former Everton boss retains a squad filled both of young and old, full of talent, and willing to work for Fergie’s successor.
Overall, Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement still feels unreal. No amount of match reports, video tributes or images are going to make seeing such a football icon step away from the worlds most beautiful game. With one match left of Manchester United’s 2012/13 Premier League season the boss could have wished his squad were in the Champions League Final at Wembley later this month – yet he will finish his career with a glorious send off.
Everyone in attendance at The Hawthorns on Sunday May 19th, as well as the worldwide audience will be sure to relish this moment in history. When the clock reads 90 minutes on Sunday (or 96 minutes including Fergie Time) bet on Sir Alex standing near the touchline, with a glimmer in his eye.