25 Years of Genius

Adnan Khurshid

“Hello everybody, I’d just like to say how delighted I am to be the manager of Manchester United”. These were the words of Sir Alex Ferguson when he took over the reigns of the Manchester based club. Not many people would have predicted that a quarter of a century later he would still be in charge and still be competing at the very top of the game. While he approaches his 70th birthday and shows no signs of stopping, people are reflecting on the magic that is Sir Alex Ferguson.


In any line of work, you would be hard pressed to find one person that has stayed in the same job role for a quarter of a century. It makes it even more remarkable then when one considers the scale of Sir Alex’s achievements. However it has not always been plain sailing for the Scottish manager. His first 3 years delivered no silverware, while after a home defeat to Crystal Palace in the winter of ’89 the Stretford end held up a now infamous banner which read “Three years of excuses and we’re still crap – Ta-ra Fergie”. It is that very season that is seen as the turning point in his career at Manchester Untied. He steered them to an FA Cup victory after a stuttering start to the season; this was to be the first in a long line, which consists of trophy after trophy.


While the early and mid 90s delivered league title after league title, with the odd FA cup success thrown in, it was the last game of the 98/99 season that really propelled Sir Alex into the footballing hall of fame, he finally had his seat amongst the legends of the game. Trailing 1-0 in the UEFA champions league final with 3 minutes of stoppage time to be played; the rest of course is history. Goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Soslkjaer making it 2-1 to United. He had finally conquered Europe and with that a knighthood followed from her majesty, every bit deserved.


Throughout his career, there has been no shortage of controversy. From kicking a boot across the locker room into David Beckham’s face, to openly berating match officials. Once famously claiming that Alan Wiley had only booked Wes Brown in order to have a thirty second rest. It is safe to say then that papers have never been short of a story to print amount the man. While many describe him as a charming man, others have cited his gritty nature. Both are reasons as to why he is so successful, as well as the infamous hairdryer of course. His man management and the winning mentality he breeds are clear for all to see. He has been praised for these attributes by players and pundits alike.


Ferguson once described Manchester United as a bus that never stops moving and if you no longer want to be aboard you best jump off quick. This highlights his long held ethos that no one is bigger than the club, and this has been clear to see as big players have been and gone. Roy Keane, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo will all vouch for this. Many fans however consider the Scot himself to be an exception to any such notion. There is a sense that the day he announces his retirement, Manchester United will no longer be the force that they are, that they will be on the decline. I believe that whoever advocates such a view, has not learnt a single thing from the great manager. Manchester United will go on, and Sir Alex Ferguson is not the only man in the history of the club, however it will no doubt be a sad day for the entire footballing world when he does retire. Make no mistake about it, he doesn’t just command respect from the Stretford End, he is seen as the godfather of European managers. There isn’t much more to say that has not already been said; simply; thank you for the memories Sir Alex, lets hope there are many more.


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