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History In The Making: Wenger & Ferguson

Watching the highlights of last night’s impressive performance by what is essentially Arsenal’s B side against Blackburn in the Carling Cup, I was yet again impressed by the legacy that Arsene Wenger has built at his club. He’s spent little money, invested in the future and the rewards for that policy are paying dividends this season and will continue to do so over and over again in future years.

At the same time, 200 miles north of London in Manchester, Sir Alex Ferguson has used a difficult model in his 21+ years of management at Manchester United. There is a reliance on the youth system but definitely to a lesser extent where instead Ferguson is able to focus on purchasing promising players for significant amounts of money and then turning them into world-class superstars (van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo, Rooney, etc).

Regarding Wenger and Ferguson, the question is whether there have been two managers who have been so successful competing against each other in the top English league at the same time in the history of the game.

Just as one example, when Bob Paisley was taking Liverpool to historic highs from 1974 to 1983 winning 18 major trophies during that time, Man United had three managers in charge — all of whom were relative failures: Dave Sexton, Tommy Docherty and Ron Atkinson. At Arsenal at that same time, they had Bertie Mee and Terry Neill as managers — again, who were relative failures in comparison to the huge amount of trophies that Paisley had won.

Go back through history and you’ll be hard pressed to find a time when there were two more successful managers competing against each other in the top English league. We should count our lucky stars to witness both of them dueling against each other and this season more than most should be very revealing and exciting to see who wins the battle.

The larger question for Arsenal and Manchester United is who will eventually replace Wenger and Ferguson after they both decide to retire. Is Pat Rice the intended successor to Wenger’s legacy? He definitely has been a large part of Wenger’s plan and can see his policies in action, but it would definitely be difficult shoes for anyone to fit into.

At Manchester United, Carlos Quieroz could be the next successor for Ferguson but, as in Pat Rice’s case, does he have what it takes to succeed or are we likely to see someone like Mark Hughes or Roy Keane take that manager’s seat?

If you were the Arsenal or Manchester United board, who would you want to earmark to replace Wenger and Ferguson? Click on the comment link and let us know.

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  1. Ninad Karandikar

    December 21, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Fergie has done a great job at Trafford.Firstly i would want him to stay there for many more years to come and win more titles.Mark Hughes cud be a good replacement surely.Keano is a little too inexperienced for the job of United,s manager….

  2. billeshears

    December 21, 2007 at 1:40 am

    Arsene Wenger is never going to die.

    On a serious note, I think it is going to be far harder for Arsenal to replace Wenger than it will be for Man U to replace Ferguson. Fergie has numerous managerial scions and former players to pick up the torch. Arsene doesn’t really have that.

  3. LemmusLemmus

    December 19, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    I think Joachim Löw would be a great replacement for Wenger after having gained more experience (and possibly won trophies) with Germany. He has pretty much the same idea about how football should be played as Wenger does. Yes, I’m serious.

  4. Kartik

    December 19, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Queiroz was a complete failure as the head coach of the MLS side in New York. Now maybe he’s grown as a manager since then thanks to his association with Fergie but he was awful at the time, often getting his team sheet wrong and being forced to make tactical changes in the first half.

  5. Brian

    December 19, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    I don’t mean to discredit Wenger at all, but his ability to blood new youngsters is vastly overrated. Wenger has bought almost ALL of his “brilliant youngsters” while Fergie has proven he can truly blood young kids (Scholes, Giggs, Becks, Butt, Nevilles, ect.). If you had said Wenger’s ability to judge young talent is far better than anyone else’s then I’d have to agree – but he does not do a great job with the youngsters who come through the actual academy.

  6. goooner3

    December 19, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Hope A.Wenger will be manager for a long time….after his retirement? Tony Adams? 🙂

  7. Anonymous

    December 19, 2007 at 10:51 am

    A.Wenger was a relative unknown when first signed. So proven trophy records proves nothing. I’d say find someone who’s named Bensenal or something.

  8. Anonymous

    December 19, 2007 at 10:39 am



  9. Anonymous

    December 19, 2007 at 7:34 am

    When Arsene Wenger does retire the successor to Arsenal should be a manager with a proven reputation and one who has won many trophies because Arsenal deserves nothing less than that. Somebody like Mourinho would be perfect he may not have Wenger’s blueprint for success but his quality and determination make him the perfect candidate. He also said he would like to return to England one day and managing Arsenal could be a possiblility as he would revel in the boards backing and have a licence to do whatever he wants with the team as Wenger had, this is what could draw ‘The Special One’ to the Emirates

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