When Sir Alex Ferguson finally stepped down from the Manchester United hot-seat I was one of a minority who didn’t believe it would have too much of an impact on neither the team’s ability to win matches or their honourable reputation within the world of football.
After all, how much influence can one man have had? Short of kicking the ball himself there’s a limited amount of things he could do in order to get his team to win games. Once the training is done, the team selected and the inspirational dressing room talk over with, it’s down to the players to decide whether or not they take home the points.
I’ll be the first to admit that I underestimated the man. Not only has David Moyes’ debut season at Old Trafford given a clear indication to just how much the club relied on Ferguson, but it’s also revealed beyond any questionable doubt how remarkable a feat it was that he managed to win the Premier League at a virtual canter last term.
In essence Ferguson’s 27 years at United moved him into a position where he wasn't simply the manager of the club; he was the club. Or it’s foundations at least. His unprecedented spell there ultimately ensured that things never changed too much. They were always done his way, a way that just happened to be extremely successful.
Of course it’s no surprise now then that with the foundations having been ripped away from underneath, the team has lost it’s core and is spiralling towards capitulation at such a rate of knots the Glazer family must feel queasy. Whereas last season United finished a comfortable 1st they now sit 7th, and with nine games to go the chances of them even making Europe next season are look somewhat precarious.
In my mind there’s only route the club could go down to make matters worse… bringing Ferguson back. Yes, you read it right; bringing the man who secured 27 trophy-laden years to Manchester back to the club now it’s struggling is a bad idea. Why? Because Ferguson’s time has been and gone.
It’s not altogether unreasonable to suggest that Moyes should be replaced at this seasons end. After all, he’s looked some way out of his depth thus far and hasn’t offered much in the way of evidence to reinforce the claim that he’ll eventually come good. However to replace him with the man he replaced, as United’s fanzine Red Issue has speculated is in the works, would be nothing short of ridiculous.
Those who have followed the club since before Ferguson was at the helm will quite easily recall a time when United weren’t the all-conquering outfit that they were in the noughties. Even when Ferguson was in charge there were plenty of years during the beginning of his tenure which were barren in terms of glory. In fact there’s many who believe the old Scot would have been sacked within his first two seasons had football been the same cut-throat business then that it is now.
For me, regardless of whether or not the powers that be decide to call time on Moyes reign after only a year of the post-Ferguson era, the one thing that they must not do is bring back the man whose retirement caused the chaos currently immersing the red half of Manchester. His legacy will always been remembered with envy from supporters of other teams and pride for those who wear the red of United, but a return would hardly spell another 27 years of success.
The bitter truth is that United are going to have to get over Ferguson’s departure eventually. If he was to replace Moyes it would only serve to prolong the inevitable, and give perhaps one or two more years before they were once again looking for a remedy to a poison that doesn’t have one; Ferguson will never be adequately replaced by someone who will replicate his feats.
What United must now concentrate on is moving forward with the times and and ensuring they give the full support to whoever it is that is sitting in the dugout after the summer transfer window. Sir Alex was great, but he’s very much the past of the club… only a fool would think he’s the future.