Ding Dong! Fergie is finally gone. And while everyone who supports a team other than Manchester United is still celebrating, I thought it would be interesting to give my perspective on his glittering career.
I am not a Man United fan. I am a Liverpool Fan. Lifelong. And so I do not like Alex Ferguson. I hate him. For twenty years I have seen him get the better of us (and mostly everyone else) and its not something I or any other Liverpool fan has enjoyed. He has indeed loved sticking the boot into us. Its not a secret that he arrived at United in 1986 wanting to ‘Knock Liverpool of their bloody perch’. Now I don’t necessarily agree he did, (I think we rather slid off it when Dalglish quit and Souness destroyed the boot room and bought some rather substandard rubbish) but he never let anyone climb back onto that perch when he ascended to the top.
Sure there were battles with Wenger, Mourinho, Benitez but Fergie pretty much obliterated everyone in sight. His record speaks for itself and the teams he built at United (6? 7?) were world-class. 26 years. Over a quarter of century. Its an amazing achievement to be a top flight manager for that much time and totally rebuild sides that win regularly so many times.
United have had the benefit of cash and Fergie has always delivered with it. Generally his track record of bringing in that one or two players has been excellent - from Keane to Cantona and from Ferdinand to Van Persie. He of course was backed by a brilliant academy system that produced a conveyor belt of English talent - Beckham, the Nevilles, Scholes, Giggs, Sharpe and all the way up to now with Welbeck and Cleverly. He has built a legacy at United. And it will take time for anyone to dismantle it.
Or will it? Moyes comes in now and for me its a clean slate from next season in the Premiership. United need to find their feet and Moyes will want to establish himself. Yes, the working parts are all there for him, but as we at Liverpool saw in 1991-92, things can go wrong pretty quickly. I doubt it. Moyes is a solid manager but the reason for my optimism is that he is not Fergie.
So I will finish as I started. I hated Alex Ferguson. He was a whiney, arrogant, bully that pushed the boundaries of sportsmanship and the rules to the limit. But those were not the biggest reason I hated him. I hated him because he was a single-minded, obsessive winner. And he managed THAT other club. Enjoy your retirement Fergie. You will always have my grudging respect.