You know ‘that feeling’ that you experience when a famous star or iconic figure suddenly dies and a strange shade seems to hang over everybody on that particular day but you can’t describe exactly how you feel, you walk past friends and colleagues and greet them with just a little less of a smile on your face. You also find later in life you can strongly recall that day’s events and how it all unfolded. Many people over the years have told to me about where they were and what they were doing when Princess Diana died and I’ve read stories of how John Lennon’s tragic end effected fans around the world.
I am by no means here to inform the country on the passing of a famous Iconic person. I am just writing to acknowledge the end of a true sporting achievement and one that leaves me feeling close to what I can only describe as ‘that feeling’. It’s a feat which stands head and shoulders above most achievements in the game of football. I am of course talking about the career and retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
It’s fair to say that if you live under a rock which lay deep beneath the ocean on a distant planet orbiting a sun in a galaxy far far away then it’s possible you haven’t heard the news. Yes Sir Alex has finally had enough and his trophy cabinet is finally full.
It’s a story that deserves everybody’s attention even just for a second. It’s not just a story for the United supporters or even just football supports for that matter, it lies deeper than that. It echoes through all the major professional sports and hangs high among the greatest sporting achievements the world over as any athlete, manager or coach would crave such a long standing and prestigious position in their sport.
I am sure he sat down with his wife and discussed the finer details to make sure the time was right. They would have to discuss the key issues for example; how can the chewing gum empire survive without him, will his hip replacement still give him the accuracy of guiding a boot to the face but ultimately how the new bedroom tax would mean they just couldn’t afford to continue filling the house with new silverware and so this time it just feels right.
The last time he retired was in 2002 and it was purely about retirement and how he looked forward to that side of life. He was a man still keen and still able to do the job and when the decision was made he hadn’t realised how much he would miss the beautiful game and came back to dominate for another decade despite his age.
As he defied his own age he also defied the time lords of the 90 minute game by barking out his opinion on the amount of remaining minutes and tapping frantically on his watch in the general direction of the man in black when he won so many games in that ‘minute after’ the last minute of the game, Fergie time is over, yeah for real this time.
In true Fergie fashion he has left us in squeaky bum time to ponder on his successor but to succeed in his seat would be one of the hardest jobs in the game. When a club demands success and the manager delivers then he will receive the fans blessing but anything less than 1st place and that blessing is easily forgotten. Manchester United could be heading in the same spiral as Chelsea; they are a club where time costs more than money. Chelsea has the right players and they have a strong fan base but they just don’t have the right structure as they won’t allow a manager to grow within the club. United have to choose correctly and give the chosen one time in the job as Fergie was given in the beginning or they may find themselves in a silverware recession.
When you read this the decision of his replacement may have been announced however it seems the papers currently lead with David Moyes as the front runner, closely followed by Jose Mourinho for the job which is understandable as both managers have separate but valid reasons why they would suit the club. Moyes is all about structure, development and finding value in the right players so he could help develop the club for years to come but for all his work he hasn’t won a thing and that is a risk. Mourinho is a winner there is no doubt about it but when the going gets tough and his club ask for commitment he bails out so its ‘no way Jose’ for the special one in my opinion. It does seem that each has their own strengths but also have obvious weakness’s which makes neither the ideal replacement but such is the task of replacing a true long term winner of the game.
There is that third choice that has made the smaller inches of the papers and that seems a good fit. That third choice is Jurgen Klopp who is a game away from a true achievement. His team stands in the final of the Champions League and he builds a team in the right way. He doesn’t have the same profile of Mourinho but he is a winner and he hasn’t had to work as hard as Moyes but he believes in development. As a footballing community we all seem happy to see that ‘tikki taka’ football is yesterday’s news and German efficiency is the new way to play which is a style that Fergie admires. With an added bonus Klopp could persuade some of his better players to join him.
In my opinion Klopp seems like the right fit and in case you have missed that he announced his decision on the 8th of May or VE Day (Victory in Europe Day which was the day in 1945 when the allied forces accepted Germany’s surrender) may too fit with Fergie. With this in mind and a hope that the papers have it wrong it could indeed be a German invasion however this time we have left our doors wide open.
It is clear there are no guarantees of success on any chosen manager but what is certain is no matter your club or country of origin you cannot deny his achievement and every back page sport section of every paper around the globe will no doubt show their own respects to a man whose time is well and truly served.
David Gouldson is 28 years old and lives in Hull. He is an argumentative sod and he supports Manchester United. He knows a lot about Bob Dylan and is a skilled gambler. He used to be in a band who did a decent cover of Secret Agent Man by Blues Traveller. He and Mr Miles have been known to argue bitterly for hours on the issue of England’s greatest ever left-back.