Manchester United are the most successful English club of the Premier League era and their continued success is down to the significant decisions taken by its hierarchy and most notably its manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
He's a man who has been at the club for over 26 years and has continued to build champion squads.
Some of Sir Alex’s most influential decisions are discussed here.
1) Signing for Manchester United:
This decision seems slightly insignificant at this point in time but considering the fact that both Arsenal and Tottenham wanted to bring Sir Alex to their respective clubs from Aberdeen, before Sir Alex joined Manchester United makes it vital. Imagine where Manchester United would have been if Sir Alex had chosen to go to either of the two London clubs.
2) The Signing of Peter Schmeichel:
The signing of Peter Schmeichel in 1991 for just £750,000 from Brondby may have been considered by some as a high sum of money at that point of time, but Sir Alex has since described it as the "bargain of the century"
The towering Dane was a monumental presence as a part of the United defence and was always instrumental in keeping the back four in check.
His final season with Manchester United resulted in him helping the club win the treble, leaving the club on a real high and cementing his legendary status at the club.
3) Champions League substitutions:
The substitutions of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham shall forever live in the memories of the United faithful. With his side losing 1-0 against Bayern Munich and missing key players in Paul Scholes and Roy Keane the impact of those famous substitutions can never be over stated. The rest as they say is history.
4) The signing of Roy Keane:
Sir Alex faced a dilemma in the summer of 1993 when he contemplating a replacement Bryan Robson. The manager signed a tough, rough but talented Irish kid from Nottingham Forest known as Roy Keane and a legend as they say was born. ‘Keano’ as he is known affectionately cost a bargain £3.75million and stayed for 12 thrilling, momentous years.
5) Signing Wayne Rooney:
Ferguson always looks to talented young players to improve his team and this signing was no different. It was obvious from the onset that this was no ordinary player and 197 goals in 399 appearances later opting to sign Wayne Rooney from Everton is turning out to be another one of Ferguson’s master strokes.
6) Signing Cristiano Ronaldo:
Another proof of Ferguson’s genius and his ability to spot a diamond in the rough. Ronaldo’s impact on the club was massive as he helped United get their hands on every possible trophy available. Cristiano Ronaldo came to United in the summer of 2003 as a young player who had immense potential fast forward five years and countless accolades later Cristiano Ronaldo left United as the world’s best player earning United a staggering profit of close to £70 million profit on their £12.24 million investment when he was sold to Real Madrid.
7) Putting his faith in the ‘fledglings’:
Arguably Ferguson’s best decision to date as he chose to put his faith in a group of youngsters labeled ‘Fergie’s fledglings’ that included the likes of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt. What these players went on to achieve is in the Manchester United history books as they turned the famous remark “You can’t win anything with kids” into a mockery.
8) Cancelling Retirement plans:
In retrospect many of Sir Alex’s rival managers would also be regretting that change of heart.Another major decision of Ferguson’s was to take back his retirement plans at the end of the 2001-02 season due to United’s dip in form. Sir Alex went on to change his mind and the following season they lifted the Premiership trophy with a now trademark fight back from trailing Arsenal by eight points ending the campaign as champions of England.
9) The Signing of Robin van Persie:
Manchester City last season won the title in the most heart wrenching of fashions from United’s grasps – on goal difference and that too in the final moments of the season. Something needed to be done and Ferguson true to form went out and bought the talismanic Robin van Persie who was also a Manchester City transfer target. Van Persie’s influence on the club as a whole has been resounding, with United in touching distance of the Premier League title this season. Manchester City’s dominance backed by their huge bank roll has now found an massive obstacle in Sir Alex.
10) The signing of Eric Cantona:
The undoubted crowning achievement of Ferguson’s career. His decision to sign the ‘loose cannon’ in Eric Cantona is regarded as another sign of his genius. Ferguson signed Cantona from Leeds United in 1992 and started the winning run of what would be the most successful team in English football.
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