Font Size

Menu Style

Cpanel

Match Reports

match reports

Views

views

Forum

Forum

Downloads

Downloads

Sir Alex Ferguson becomes Man United's longest serving manager

news article Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson stands as a monument to a united club.

Pushed up close to the screen of football’s soap opera, with players seeking pay rises, agents chasing their cut and bookies shortening the odds on the next manager to be sacked, it is easy for a truly significant achievement to be cheapened by the easy hyperbole that attends the sport.

The weather may have determined that he celebrates his achievement in the comfort of his own home and not at Stamford Bridge, but Sunday marks the day that Sir Alex Ferguson overtakes Sir Matt Busby as the longest-serving manager in the history of Manchester United. That is worth a pause for respectful reflection.

Ferguson’s monument is cast in silver pots and can be found displayed in the Old Trafford trophy room, so there will be little indulgence on his part to the historical weight of his achievement. Ferguson, approaching 70 and in his 25th year as United manager, is still motivated by the undimming desire to win.

“I may be creating history but I won’t have Matt’s record on my mind when we play Chelsea,” he said, before the game was cancelled.

“We must win the game when it is played, our record down there has been ---- in the last few years. Chelsea and ourselves of course have been fighting out the championship for the last six years, so it’s obviously the most significant game.”

It is the voracious hunger for winning, you suspect, that keeps Ferguson going in a world that he finds increasingly distasteful.

The acid of reckless owners and feckless agents corrodes a game devoured by a media whose ubiquity Ferguson finds repellent. In this context, building a club over a quarter of a century appears absolutely incongruous.

“I think it’s very difficult these days [to build a club] with the life we’re in now, very very difficult. There’s intense pressure on managers now.

You’ve got that issue at Blackburn of an agent involved and deciding the future of the club, Jerome Anderson [of the SEM group], he couldn’t pick his nose. It’s baffling and it’s a serious threat to how clubs get run and how they conduct themselves.

“The unfortunate thing is, it’s actually becoming quite trendy to sack a manager in difficult circumstances and I just wonder whether Blackburn thought, ‘You know, if Newcastle can do it, we can do it’.

“I don’t know the answers to it, but what I can say is that a manager’s job, whatever he’s getting paid, it’s not worth it.”

That he has remained in his job for so long continues to surprise Ferguson. It has been well documented the pressure he was under in his early years at Old Trafford and how close he came to retiring in 2002.

"It is not just sepia-tinged nostalgia that makes Ferguson speak with warmth about Busby’s achievements, but the sense of a time when honour and respect played a greater role in football.

“I seemed to think his record would go on forever. That’s why I am surprised I have come to this position, especially with all the issues that concern a manager now. The pressure they face; the way the media is; the way modern directors are.

“I think the reason I felt Sir Matt’s record would last is he joined the club after the war.

"Then there was the emotional issue of the Munich air disaster which must have been a tremendous burden to carry and responsibility, you know rebuilding the club and then he went on to win the European Cup within 10 years which was an incredible achievement; the most outstanding of any manager since the war to rebuild a team within 10 years.

“And not just rebuild it, he did it with mainly his own young players.”

Busby, who managed the club for 24 years, one month and 13 days in his two spells at the club, had an office at the ground when Ferguson took the job and his very presence impressed upon him the sense of historical continuity at United: he had to build a team within the traditions of the club.

“You always knew he was in because you could smell his pipe. The thing about Matt when I came here, and I always said this to Martin Edwards [then chairman], we should embrace all these great players.

“We are doing that now with the ambassadors. What I experienced with Matt and Bobby [Charlton] is that they are the custodians of the history of the club.

“They understand what makes United, they understand the role of the manager, the importance, how difficult it is.

“Matt was a godsend for me. Maybe it helped that I was Scottish, but having those two about was security for me, rather than a hindrance. I think that is how United should be. We should have our past involved in the club.”

Ferguson is true to that. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in reception on Friday picking up mail full of good wishes on his last day at the club before leaving to manage Molde.

Mike Phelan and Brian McClair work on the coaching staff while Bryan Robson and Denis Irwin act as club ambassadors. On the pitch, Ferguson has trusted the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, when other managers might have rushed to replace them.

Ferguson has the capacity to be belligerent and petty but he is also profoundly loyal. Loyal, too, to the traditions of the club that Busby helped establish.

“I think Sir Matt and I had totally different personalities and characters. But the one dominant factor was that we were both Scottish and that means, wherever we go, we had the determination to do well. We don’t want to fail.

“And we are travellers; we want to see the rest of the world. We both came from working class backgrounds of course. I think that’s an advantage.

"I think having Sir Bobby in my corner in particular [was an advantage] and I also think Martin Edwards understood that there was a big job to be done here.

 

“As a manager you can either build a football club or build a football team. Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} I have always liked to build a club. That’s what I did at Aberdeen and that’s what I did at United.”

From: The Telegraph

 

 

You are here: Home News General news Sir Alex Ferguson becomes Man United's longest serving manager