Today marks the 30-year anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson’s appointment as Manchester United manager.
The Scotsman spent an unprecedented 27-years in charge at Old Trafford and secured the small matter of 37 trophies along the way. Nevertheless, a manager lasting longer than three years is becoming rare now, never mind two decades.
Managers are being given less and less time to turn things around at a club and it’s something that has struck a nerve with Gary Neville. In fact, he has taken this anniversary as a chance to make a point about it.
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When you consider Neville’s somewhat minuscule time as a manager, it’s not hard to gather why he’s so angered by coaches being axed so swiftly.
The 41-year-old was sacked as Valencia boss after just four months in charge of the club. While, admittedly, he did only lead the club to three league wins in sixteen games, the lack of time he was given remained astonishing.
It proves difficult to imagine that Neville would have been sent packing so early had this been the 1980’s.
In light of this and today’s reminder that managers did, once upon a time, last years as opposed to months, Neville took to twitter to state:
The ex-Manchester United man certainly has a point. In the current footballing climate, Ferguson would most likely have been sacked for the start he made to his United tenure.
Considering how the Scot eventually kicked on, it would have proven unfathomable had the Red Devils made such a decision.
After all, the bottom line is that Louis van Gaal won his first trophy at Old Trafford a year sooner. While he did have the benefit of working with Ferguson’s old players, he was never given the same time nor faith.
It may prove ridiculous given his rife unpopularity, but what’s to say David Moyes wouldn’t have been a long-term success? Besides, United could easily have applied the same principal to Ferguson in 1990 and sacked him too.
Consequently, as Neville has demonstrated via his tweet, we should celebrate a manager who was given time and went onto to become perhaps the greatest ever.
Besides, once Arsene Wenger eventually concedes his role as Arsenal boss, the Premier League will be stripped bare of long-term managers.
Astonishingly, the second longest reigning boss after Wenger proves Eddie Howe who took over at Bournemouth in 2012. In fact, he was barely 20-years-old when the Frenchman took over at Arsenal.
In addition, nine of the 20 Premier League teams are managed by men who have held the role for less than a year.
Neville may not be a pundit with which people can always agree, but in this case it’s very hard not to. After all, you’d be hard pressed to argue that United slipped up in taking a gamble in sticking with Fergie.
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