If the Premiership teams are ruled by managers, we might need to come up with a different term for what Sir Alex does. He does not merely ‘manage’, he soars.
There should never an occasion when winning trophies bores anyone connected with a sports team. If that day ever comes, it is our considered opinion that you leave the sport and never approach the field again. This weekend Manchester United claimed their tenth Premiership title and our manager looked as happy as if it was the first.
The final destination of the Premiership trophy had to wait to the final day of the season but in truth United had always done enough to remain in front going into the game, our advantage has been greater at other points this season but the simple fact is that however small that advantage was before kick off, the power was in our corner and it was ours to give it away.
That I never felt true panic is due in no small way to the fact that our team went after this title, in this game, not like it was their tenth and the manager had been there and done it before, but like it was his first and he was on the verge of losing his job had the result gone the wrong way.
For two games in a season, we share the city with our neighbours in blue. For most of the season we are on a completely different planet. In the red corner, a manager who most certainly could have been dismissed early in his United days. We have been privileged to be there to see the results of the decision not to show Sir Alex Ferguson the door. Our team has benefited from his insatiable need for success, but his hunger has been able to grow together with our team. His celebration at the final whistle reminded me of the famous Sheffield Wednesday full time whistle in 1993.
He has managed to compete and never lose his sense of always wanting to be the best. He has managed to manage the best young talent and create new generations of players from all over and make sure they share his hunger.
Our manager does not simply manage. Managing is dragging a team into Europe and one place below their city rivals who have had more money to spend than most. To manage suggests that you ‘manage’ to make the best situation with the tools you have. Perhaps, therefore we need a new word for what Sir Alex Ferguson does with Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho managed to win the league twice, with an unlimited budget before he walked away. He was able to do that job because he had managed to win the European Champions’ League with a team that only the very incredibly drunk would have backed at the start of the competition. He achieves success and then moves on. Rafa Benitez has managed to get Liverpool to a couple of European Champions’ League finals while spectacularly mismanaging their domestic seasons.
Sir Alex Ferguson has not ‘managed’. Managing is for mere managers!
He has brought our club the Premiership 10 times and many more trophies besides.
The tenth time is no worse than the first because it was no easier. In fact it’s all the more impressive because it’s harder. Sometime it’s new faces that wish to challenge, sometimes it’s the same leathery French ones. The desire is no different, no weaker.
Creating success is one thing, maintaining a consistency of success is another. Let the others ‘manage’. The man at our helm tries to create history.