End Of Ferguson’s Glorious Era


Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson shocked world football, especially followers of English football, when he announced that he would step down as the manager of Premier League champions, Manchester United, at the end of the season after 1,500 games in charge.

Since 1986, Ferguson will arguably go down as Britain’s greatest manager – in nearly 27 years at the helm of Manchester United. The Scot created a dynasty that has dominated the game in England and been a major force in Europe. His haul of 38 trophies includes 13 Premier League titles, two UEFA Champions League triumphs and five FA Cup wins. The most successful manager in English football history is expected to bow out after the West Brom game on 19 May.

The former Aberdeen coach is the longest serving manager of Manchester United, overtaking Sir Matt Busby’s record on 19 December 2010, and the longest serving of all current League managers. He has won many awards and holds many records including winning Manager of the Year most times in British football history. In 2008, he became the third British manager to win the European Cup on more than one occasion. He was knighted in 1999 for his services to the game and also holds the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen.

Ferguson wrote in the letter of retirement that “the decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time. It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so. The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level whilst the structure of the youth set-up will ensure that the long- term future of the club remains a bright one”

According to uefa.com, an annual survey by Deloitte, an accounting firm says since 1992-93 no European club has won as many domestic titles as United. Although both Barcelona and Real Madrid have won more European titles, both Spanish clubs have got through many more managers: Real have averaged almost one boss a year. Fergie’s record is even more impressive when compared with what came before. In the 20 years prior to the start of the Premier League, United did not win a single English league title (their win in 1993 was the first since 1967), while the biggest German, Italian and Spanish teams were already dominant at home. Until Fergie started winning, the ruling force in the English game were Liverpool.

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Though the management of Manchester United have not yet said who will succeed the club’s outgoing boss, they will be keen to make sure history does not repeat itself. The last time a successful, long-serving Scottish manager stood down—Sir Matt Busby in 1969—his successors, in his long shadow, could not maintain his record. The team declined, and the European champions of 1968 were relegated to the second division in 1974. United are far too well set for that to happen again: but after such a run of success in the modern, money-driven game, a failure to reach the Champions League would hurt almost as much.

Surprising, the announcement by Fergie that he is retiring has triggered a multiplier effect on the club’s share in the stock exchange. United are the only football club listed on the New York Stock Exchange, worth over $3 billion. Report says “Man. United’s share down by 4 percent and will continue to fall following Fergie’s announcement.”

The club face the challenge of managing the situation by getting a manager who will consolidate on Ferguson’s achievements at Old Trafford, while the incoming manager will no doubt be under pressure to improve on the record created by the Scot.

As the Glasgow-born coach gets set to sit on the board of the club and take up an ambassadorial role, he has no doubt left a managerial legacy which would be hard to fill by his successor.

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