Alex Ferguson retires

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Re: Alex Ferguson retires

Post by Jonathan Prendergast on Sat May 11, 2013 8:43 pm

An article by an Australian sports journalist. (Allan Joyce and Kevin Sheedy are similar coaching contemporaries in Australian Rules Football)

Fergie the ultimate Red Devil
Final Word
GREG BAUM
Ferguson’s churlish hallmark was his open and unrelenting contempt for referees.
Enough of the haggisography. Sir Alex Ferguson was manager of Manchester United for 27 years, during which it won the English league 13 times, but just two European championships, an underachievement, and sundry other baubles.
He was also a bitter, rude, graceless, humourless bully with a vile temper who held a position of singular privilege and influence in world sport and failed utterly to use it in any greater cause than his club’s and his own. This is a view from afar, but if it was any different close up, it was wholly missed by a media that seemed to take a masochistic delight in his glares, snubs and insults. Ferguson once boycotted the BBC for seven years because of a personal feud. Even the announcement of his resignation was made by statement, with no press conference.
Ferguson’s churlish hallmark was his open and unrelenting contempt for referees. United, in his time, never actually was beaten, just sometimes sabotaged by officials. Five times, he was given touchline bans because of critiques of referees – including calling one fat – and these sanctions were only the tip of an iceberg, when even generally passive administrators could take no more.
His overbearing attitude worked. The record shows that in soccer’s peculiarly imprecise manner of timekeeping, referees added more time to the end of games in which United was trailing than they did for any other club. Notwithstanding, when Manchester City pipped United for last year’s EPL title, Ferguson sneered: ‘‘City did it against 10 men for half an hour and with five extra minutes to help them.’’
He then did what he always did in such a spot – went out and paid whatever it took to buy out another club’s captain and best player, in this case Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie, club and player both making pious declarations about their mutual thoughts on ambition, style and fit, as if this was anything other than a business deal. Ferguson’s coup was again acclaimed as a feat of football management instead of what it was, a hostile takeover. United won again.
Indisputably, Ferguson was a standover man. The best-known United player in his time was David Beckham, who in his autobiography described his relationship with Ferguson as love/fear. Ferguson disapproved of Beckham’s marriage, punished him for missing a training session to be with a sick child, questioned his loyalty to the club when he accepted an invitation – as England captain – to go to Buckingham Palace and once made a paranoid phone call to Beckham, accusing him of being in Barcelona when in fact he was in a Manchester shopping mall.
Most famously, he once threw a boot at Beckham and struck him. I say famously because somehow, in the obsequious spirit of Ferguson fawning, this is celebrated rather than reviled.
Ferguson was a modest player with a good soccer brain and a driven temperament who in time proved himself to be an adept manager, but that by itself is an unremarkable CV. At United, he inherited some youthful talent and developed others, but these alone would not have won him the games and championships that bought him the time to rebuild the team over and over.
Rather, he raided other clubs, repeatedly breaking records for transfer fees, also the hearts of rivals with no hope of competing: Keane, Cantona, Ferdinand, Yorke, Sheringham, Veron, van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez, van Persie. Reportedly, teenager Ronaldo was more taken by Arsenal and Arsene Wenger but United’s money was irresistible.
Ferguson’s time at United more or less coincided with the emergence of the Premier League, which is a glorious spectacle, but misnamed as a football competition. Nineteen of the EPL’s 21 titles have been won by the three biggest and best resourced in the land. The biggest by far is United, because of a cachet and worldwide following that long predated Ferguson, but was massively exploited in his era. Now owned by the Glazer brothers, American tycoons with at best an affected interest in soccer, United scarcely has been a model of propriety; it was described on Friday as a ‘‘debt mountain’’. Yet when City won last year’s title, Ferguson harrumphed about how City would continue to ‘‘pay stupid money, pay silly salaries, and all that’’.
Ferguson seemed never to understand either his luck or his obligation to the game, as did two Australian near contemporaries in their localised code. It is hard to remember a contribution from him to the greater discourse, ala Kevin Sheedy. About his widest offering was to accuse UEFA of fixing the Champions League draw in favour of continental teams. The late Allan Jeans once said that a man only discovered whether he could coach or not when he was in charge of a team on the bottom. Ferguson never had that perspective. He never had any perspective.
Ferguson kept a martinet’s grip on a good job for a long time, then one day noticed that he had grandchildren, his hip was hurting, and he stopped.

Link to Article

I think it's brilliant. It asks an important question. what will he be remembered for apart from winning? tantrums, criticisms, fear.

If you like it, e-mail him in support at gbaum@theage.com.au . He's copping it from United fans!


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Re: Alex Ferguson retires

Post by Michael Foster on Sun May 12, 2013 6:24 am

he will only be remembered by me as a charlatan.....

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Re: Alex Ferguson retires

Post by Michael Foster on Mon May 13, 2013 1:24 am

final game and he leaves rooney out...says it all about the man.

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Re: Alex Ferguson retires

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