Gillespie Guest Post: The Reddest of Devils, a Tribute to FergiePosted: May 16, 2013
Even though I am an Arsenal fan and quite frankly I despise Manchester United, I still felt sad when I heard Sir Alex Ferguson was retiring. Now, many gooners will read this and feel I’m not thinking straight. Man United have been one of our biggest rivals in recent times, however the thing is, not only United but also the Premier League won’t be the same without “The Boss”. It’s Ferguson’s presence that has been the cause of so many memorable moments, not just at Man United but within English football and we should all be grateful. The drama he brings will be missed and David Moyes has very big shoes to fill. Shoes which I hope he will be able to grow into.
In 1986 a man travelled down from Scotland to have an interview for a possible job. The job was to take a Club which had fallen into obscurity to greener pastures. This man was Alex Ferguson. The 27 years that followed will go down in history as the greatest era for any football team. During these 27 years of service he picked up a modest 38 trophies, being crowned champions on 13 occasions.
Never again in football or any sport for that matter will we see one individual so integral to one team. 27 years is a long time, well beyond my years, and for a Football Club to maintain success consistently over such a period is an incredible feat. Yes he has had some of the best players in the world playing for him and yes the Club he was manager of was one of, if not the biggest Club in the world. There is one reason why Utd remain at the very top, and that’s Sir Alex. He was the best and no one can deny him that. He took Manchester United out of mediocrity and positioned them back into the flashing lights of stardom. You can argue until the cows come home but it was his presence that attracted the big players, investors and sponsors.
It’s common to see a manager nowadays go into a Club and have four to five successful years and then leave. The hardest thing in football is to reinvent yourself and keep a consistent level of success, especially at the top. If you lose your best player it’s hard to replace him. If you don’t replace him, others will follow him out the door, then before you know it you’re out of a job and your dynasty comes to an end. Increasingly a new manager comes in, bringing with him a new style of play and the teams is back winning. This hasn’t happened at United for 27 years.
It’s undeniable that there’s now a certain level of trepidation at Old Trafford, something that those involved are not use to, but something that every other Club in the world has dealt with more often than not in the modern era. In Sir Alex there was security. When Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and others decided to leave Old Trafford there was concern, but not once was anyone worried. Sir Alex had the solution and not once was the solution wrong. It may have had to been tweaked or varied but the trophies always came back. Something us Arsenal fans more than anyone have to stand and applaud enviously.
It’s sad is that probably never again will we see a manager so devoted and successful with one Club. The demand for success is so high nowadays no manger is comfortable in their position. Even our beloved Mr. Wenger has come under scrutiny in recent years but he has always responded, just about. Eventually though, if Arsenal go another season or two without silverware he may have to go.
Nowadays there is always someone putting you under pressure. We have seen with the Mancini debacle that one bad season can cost you. No matter how well you did the year before. There’s no better example of how poorly managers are treated in the modern era then at Chelsea. Abramovich is ruthless and acts like a child when it comes to respecting managers. It’s not only the owners who are complacent however; some of the managers themselves are to blame. There is no longer loyalty in football. Managers and players alike want to move up the ladder and be the next big thing, even for only 15 minutes. Sadly every Club is now run like a business, but we should be proud of Arsenal’s self-sustaining model even if we haven’t been able to emulate the consistency of Utd.
Ferguson is a man of integrity, loyalty and respect. It was never about money or image for Ferguson. He looked at his next fixture, prepared for it and more often than not got the job done. He only ever commented when asked. He was focused on one thing and that was success. Success and drama go hand in hand and without a doubt the Fergie era was responsible for some of the greatest moments, not just in football history but sporting history.