Football

Sir Alex Ferguson: The greatest manager ever?

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With Sir Alex Ferguson now retired, it's only fair we look back at the  changes brought about in his astounding 26 years at the helm of Manchester United.

When Ferguson took over as manager of Manchester United in November 1986, the club had gone 19 years without a league title; the average attendances were at their lowest for 20 years; the stadium was crumbling, and the drink culture which engulfed Manchester United hardly reassured fans that their club would 'knock Liverpool off their perch'.

In the beginning

Success was in short supply, despite a second place finish to runaway leaders Liverpool in 1987/88. United and Ferguson went nearly four years without silverware, which included dismal league positions of 11th and 13th in 1988/89 and 1989/90.

Despite these demoralising league finishes, Ferguson managed to win the 1990 FA Cup, which could well have saved his job.  

The honours

From this position, Ferguson spring-boarded to win 13 league titles, four more FA Cups, four League Cups, 10 Community Shields, two Champions Leagues, one UEFA Cup Winners Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA World Club Cup over the course of the next 23 years, to go with his OBE, CBE and Knighthood. However, Ferguson's legacy is much more than that.

The academy

Prior to Ferguson's arrival, United had all but abandoned their past for attracting talented young players. Within months of arriving at the club, Ferguson snapped up 14-year-old Ryan Giggs from Manchester City, and oversaw the rise of the original 'Fergie's Fledglings', which included David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.

Since then, United have continued to produce their own players of Premier League-winning quality, such as Tom Cleverley, Jonny Evans, Danny Welbeck, John O'Shea and Darren Fletcher.

Old Trafford

In Ferguson's first season, United's average attendance was 40,625, which although the highest in the League, was United's lowest for 20 years.

With the Taylor report demanding all-seater stadiums, Ferguson oversaw United's transition from a crumbling terraced stadium in the past, to a 21st century amphitheatre, with average attendances reaching 73,923 for the 2012/13 campaign.

The future

On top of all his success, Ferguson has left United in a much healthier situation than it previously was. The club has a nucleus of youngsters forming the backbone of the team, such as David De Gea, Jones, Evans, Chris Smalling, Rafael, Cleverley and Welbeck, the stadium has a UEFA five-star rating - the only club stadium in the UK to have one - and healthy funds for new manager David Moyes to use.

Is Ferguson the greatest of all time? What do you think?

 

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Topics:
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Manchester United

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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