Thursday, 9 May 2013

SAF Retires - Moyes In

It's with great sadness that Sir Alex Ferguson has retired from football, yes he had the occasional spat with a referee or an opposite manager but he leaves a huge mark in the world of football. It's a shame that he had to bow out because his record will be unmatched. The aura he put over Manchester United will be forever visible. Let's not forget the man has won 49 trophies with United, yes he had a strong side at his disposal but it wasn't the case straight away. Before he came to United he started with East Sterlingshire and then St. Mirren in Scotland. It took him 3 years to win the league but for such a small club in comparison to Rangers/Celtic it was the first historic achievement in a chapter full of them to come.

The following season St.Mirren finished a lowly 8th, such a huge decline from champions to 8th so he left for Aberdeen. His first season wasn't rewarding but it was a 4th place finish which was huge at the time. Following season rewarded another title for SAF. 2 titles in 6 years isn't a bad start let's be honest. The following three years didn't yield sucess in the league but did in the cup which showed Ferguson had a flavour for the cup as well. He won the Scottish cup three years in a row with the last of those coming in his latest league success in 83-84. The year before he had done a stupendous effort in winning the UEFA cup winners cup for Aberdeen, his stock was rising slowly and people were starting to take notice. 83-84 will go down as his greatest triumph in Scotland by not only taking the league and cup double but also winning the UEFA Super Cup as well by beating sides like Bayern Munich in the quarter final and of course the mighty Real Madrid 2-1 in the final itself. 

Sir Alex Ferguson was to have 3 more seasons with his native club and in that time he won the league once more and a cup double the following season in 1986. He finished that league in 4th which was poor considering what he had already won. He was 5th in the 86-87 season when Manchester United came calling, Spurs also appealed to SAF but he went on to choose United and David Pleat went to White Hart Lane. He steered United to an 11th placed finish which nowadays was unheard of but this was the start of things to come. The following season in 87-88 he brought United to their best finish in a decade when they finished runners in the Premier League, there was no cup success at this time. Ferguson was slowly building a family and a fortress at Old Trafford. It was only until 1989-90 that he took United to his first FA cup final where he won it against Crystal Palace in a Wembley return courtesy of a winner by Lee Martin. 

What happened next was extraordinary it was like De Ja Vu all over again, the following season he won the UEFA Cup Winners cup and the season after done the same thing he did with Aberdeen and won the UEFA Super Cup the year later. SAF was on the world map and in only 15 years. It was league success that United fans wanted at that time and the season after it was duly delivered. In the 9 years to come leading in the turning of the decade in 2000. Sir Alex Ferguson vowed to knock Liverpool off their perch and take over them in terms of league titles. 7 in 9 years and 2 runners up medals is almost unheard of. Success breeds success in football. 

The Treble!

His biggest success and something he will always be remembered by is the Treble he won in the 98-99 season it was monumental because although the domestic cup was routine and expected it was the triumph in the league and Europe which propelled him into stardom. They were trailing leaders Arsenal all through the season and yet managed to nick it towards the latter end of the season, a classic smash and grab but what endurance to even get that far. It's just the start of things to come, that infamous tie against Bayern Munich in the final where United came back from 1-0 to win 2-1 courtesy of a late winner by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The semi final prior was no walk in the park as United labored to a 1-1 draw at home to Juventus but managed to steal a 3-2 away win in Turin courtesy of an Andy Cole winner. It was to be the start of United's never say die attitude. This in my opinion is his greatest triumph and will never be replicated. 

Manchester United went on to win 13 Premier League's in the SAF era, the FA cup 5 times, Community shield 10 times and the League cup 4 times. That's 32 trophies just domestically in 26 years. More than one every year. In Europe he won the Champions League twice and also won the European Cup Winners cup once and the European Super cup once. Add that to the Intercontinental cup and FIFA Club World Cup and you've got yourself a legend and surely the greatest manager that has ever been in the game. It's been unbelievable watching him not only push himself but his team each and every year. To have motivation and the ability to succeed not only through the good times but also the bad ones. Look no further than last season when Man City claimed their first title in 30 years. Ferguson strengthened and strolled to the league this year with 4 games to spare. Desire and hunger unmatched at any level. 

Sir Alex Ferguson will always be known as a winner but let's not forget he's a nurturer of player and talent here are some players he's brought onto the world stage.

David Beckham

Eric Cantona

Paul Scholes

Ryan Giggs

Cristiano Ronaldo

Wayne Rooney

There isn't a manager in the world that can match the amount of talent SAF has brought on which is why he goes down as the best manager the world has seen. I've had the pleasure of watching his progress and it's been momentous to see him not only manage but also retire. I and every football fan around the world wish him all the best in his future endeavors. A legend has walked away from the game but at least on his own terms. 

Also a mention of word to David Moyes who Sir Alex Ferguson tried to sign as an assistant manager in 98 from Preston. It could be an astute replacement but only time will tell. One thing is for sure he will never match his predeccesor. They are both tared with the same brush and ilk. Moyes has done wonders with an unbelievably tight budget and squad, now is his time to stand up prove himself at the highest level. Next season will be interesting purely because of one reason and that is that SAF isn't at the dugout anymore. He simply protected his family in Manchester United. Yes he picked up many offences for strong words against referee's and other managers/icons, but what we must remembered he was only defending his family vociferously and wouldn't we do the same?

Goodnight, Take care
Best Wishes SAF
Much Appreciated 
Daniel John

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