I’m always hearing pundits, ex players and so called experts continually telling everyone just how great for the game of football, Sir Alex Ferguson has been and still is.
I don’t dispute for a minute that Ferguson is a great manager. So far he has built at least 3 great teams, produced a whole host of great players like Beckham, Giggs and Scholes, etc, and has produced great professionals like the Neville brothers and Nicky Butt.
He has also turned decent players into world class performers, people like Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand, Roy Keane, Eric Canona and Peter Schmeichel. Has given players like Dwight Yorke, Denis Irwin, Paul Parker, Paul Ince and Gary Pallister great success – including international caps – and the chance to win numerous trophies.
His trophy count and achievements are second to none, remarkable in the English game.
But I think over 20 years, given the teams he has had, he has badly underachieved only winning 2 Champions Leagues.
I thought in 1999 he had the best team in Europe, ok so Bayern Munich had the better of the final, but United were the best side in Europe back then for me. Who will ever forget the semi-final in Turin as well.
In 2008, the year of their 2nd success under Ferguson, they beat Barcelona without too much trouble in the semi-final and they were again, probably, the top side in Europe that season. I thought the final was a poor match, but United were better than Chelsea over the course of the season and deserved their double.
Where Ferguson hasn’t been good for the game of football for me, is in his continued assult on referees via his press conferences and his players on the field. He has set the standard for pressurising referees, pre and post match, in his press conferences, it is out of order for me and the FA should have done something about it by now.
He has also (I would imagine) encouraged his players to put pressure on referees during the match, judging by the behaviour of most of them over the years. If he hasn’t encouraged this, then there is a serious lack of discipline in the club as his players behaviour towards refs over the years has been appauling. I think we can all draw our own conclusions to that one!
This hasn’t been good for football. I’m not blaming Fergie for the whole breakdown of behaviour and respect within football, but he has played a major role and has done the future generations of referees no favours at all with his continued ref bashing.
A more balanced approach over the years wouldn’t have gone amiss, thats for sure.