May 9, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson: Greatest manager ever?

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

After 26 seasons and countless trophies, Sir Alex Ferguson is stepping down as manager of Manchester United, the biggest football club in the world.

How prolific was Fergy at winning silverware? Check out the list of accolades with the team: 13 Premier League titles, five FA cups, four League Cups, 2 Champions League Cups, 10 community Shields, 1 European Cup-Winners Cup, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 1 UEFA Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup. And that’s not including individual awards, like his many manager of the month awards or manager of the year kudos.

That tally of 38 team trophies is unrivalled by any manager in North America – hell by any team! The man with the most titles this side of the Atlantic is Phil Jackson with 11. But if you want to compare Fergy with an American coach, you have to throw in his crustiness with the press. He has held grudges with members of the media for years and has straight-up refused to talk to any reporter at all for weeks on end. And you can never forget his ability to find the right players to buy, sell players when their value is highest all while continually developing his youngsters. Basically, he was great at every aspect of his job.

His final game will be his 1,500th with the club, a number that is simply mind-boggling. The only managers that are even remotely close to that in the EPL currently are Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and David Moyes at Everton – but that’s about to come to end.

While there could have been quite the fun guessing game about who will replace Fergy, word had start to leak out just hours after his retirement statement that Man U had already chosen their new man: Fellow Scot Moyes.

We could have had a summer of rumours regarding Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp of Borussia Dortmund, maybe a retired Ryan Giggs and, of course, Moyes.

Moyes has shown that he can find value and compete with the top teams while working on a budget over his years at Everton. He’ll undoubtedly pick Ferguson’s brain – Sir Alex is staying on as a director with the team – about summer buys and strategy. And why wouldn’t you want the chance to learn the ropes from such a great?

But now you have to wonder how the players will react to this move. Paul Scholes has already retired once and Sir Alex talked him into coming back last winter. Giggs is the oldest player in the league right now and can’t play forever. You also have to figure that Rio Ferdinand isn’t getting any younger and could conceivably go at any time. At least Wayne Rooney will be happy to be out of the doghouse.

And this doesn’t even get into how Everton will fare without the talented manager Moyes is.

There is some good news though for soccer fans, particularly those who play fantasy football. We may finally see some more predictability in the Red Devils lineup choices. It was never fun buying several Man U players only to see them shuffled into and out of the lineup every other week, seemingly regardless of form.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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