Monday, November 7, 2011

25 Years of Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United has had the distinct honor of having the best coach/manager the world has ever known. No other manager has dominated his or her sport for as long as Sir Alex. Few managers have enjoyed being employed at one club for 25 years. He joins American coaches Paterno and Beamer, and legendary Auxerre coach Guy Roux. None of those individuals can claim to be as successful as Sir Alex Ferguson who has managed a staggering 19 major titles. He has no plans to hang it up just yet and with another batch of youth coming through the ranks why should he? It is only right that the first topic in over two years of this blog should be about Sir Alex Ferguson and his history at Manchester United.

Sports fans in the United States are not as familiar with Sir Alex Ferguson as they should be but many are familiar with the club he built, a clear statement of a man who rarely seeks personal praise.  You can talk to dozen of American sports fans who have heard of Manchester United but when quizzed about the coach of the club they come up short. They reply, “I know Rooney and Beckham but don’t they play in L.A. now?” A shame, but you can’t blame them. Ferguson hates the limelight and attempts to shift any credit to his players or the fans. Do not be fooled, he is the mastermind behind all of United’s success. It is surprising his accolades are not focused on. Fox and ESPN decided Blackburn v. Chelsea and Newcastle v. Everton was better match ups then Manchester United v. Sunderland on Ferguson’s 25th anniversary at the club.

They should have told his story and the incredible honor bestowed to Sit Alex Ferguson. Sir Alex was born in Glasglow, Scotland and grew up to become a successful striker. His managerial career began in Scotland where he came to prominence with Aberdeen Football Club. There he overcame Rangers and Celtic to win the Scottish League in 1980 and the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1982. He joined Manchester United on November 6th, 1986. He brought back a winning mentality to United and rebuilt the squad, which of course paid off beginning in 1992-93 when United reclaimed their championship status. Ferguson’s greatest achievement must be when he knocked Liverpool off their perch with United’s 19th league title.

Ferguson’s best attribute is his ability to understand when it is time for a player, no matter who he is, to move on and when it is time to rebuild. He has built 5 teams during his 25 years and each has been successful. He has done it with a perfect blending of creative talent, squad players, and youth brought up through the United’s youth academy. He has lead efforts to rebuild United’s training facilities, youth academy, stadium, and global appeal. His coaching staff has gone on to manage some of the biggest sides in the world and he is the status quo for judging any managerial success at a club, he is the standard barrier. It is fitting that the club he built is honoring him by naming the North stands the “Sir Alex Ferguson Stand” and building a statue at Old Trafford.

United fans cannot wait to see what Sir Alex has in store; I say this because this is his team and we are all onlookers to the mastermind. It has always been his call and he bears any and all criticism for his decisions. He will lash out every now and then at the press and his players but he is always the first to give credit to his squad and the backroom staff. Enough credit cannot be given to the benevolent dictator who graces the home stands at Old Trafford but to avoid rambling, the world will continue to watch on as the master craftsmen builds yet another United team.

In Fergie WE Trust!

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