|Would Ferguson have survived 25 years at any other top club?|
|Written by Administrator on Wednesday, 06 June 2012 06:11|
After 14 trophies and 4 years at the helm of the most astonishingly great team in recent history, the man Catalans had come to call their most successful coach ever decided to quit. It is clear, even by his own admission, that in the end Guardiola just got tired and weary of the Barcelona job, given the immense pressure and expectation. He had done it all and all over again in those fantastic four years.
Guardiola had indicated early in his tenure at the Camp Nou that it would be impossible to stay at Barcelona for any long spell of time because the demands of such a high profile club mean that it must keep re-inventing itself. And that involves changing every now and then the man in the dugout. This just shows how important and unique the job that Alex Ferguson has managed to do at Manchester United; it is good to win it all over four years but the big part is to do it again and again for 20 years.
Sir Alex has been at the helm of Manchester United for 25 years and the fans would never dream of replacing him no matter the circumstances. He has the job for as long as he wants it, even the Glazers have the good sense to accept that. This is not the case at Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Real Madrid or Barcelona. How come? Well let’s take a look at the historical factors that influence this situation. Bayern have won the Bundesliga well over 20 times and been European Champions 4 times, AC Milan have 18 League titles to add to their 7 European crowns while Madrid boast a European record 32 League titles and 9 European Crowns. These three teams have traditionally and historically always done well domestically and in Europe under different managers. While Ottmar Hitzfeld, Arrigo Sacchi, Miguel Munoz and Johann Cruyff may lay claim to being at the helm when one of the classic teams in football history were at their peak, they are only but great pieces of an overwhelming club history of success.
When Sir Alex arrived at Manchester United, they had only one European crown and were lagging behind Liverpool by a whopping 12 domestic titles with only 6 titles in their club history! As we speak Manchester United are now 19 time English champions and three time European Champions. With Sir Alex being solely responsible for two-thirds of United’s European triumphs and solely responsible for
The only reason Ferguson is still at Manchester United is because the tolerance for failure is much higher than at Bayern Munich, AC Milan Real Madrid or Barcelona. Had he been manager at any of these clubs, he would have been fired after the 97-98 season when United collapsed and lost the league to Arsenal, were deservedly knocked out of the Uefa Champions League by Monaco, and also embarrassingly knocked out of the FA Cup by Barnsley. That same year Jupp Heynckes was fired by Real Madrid after winning the Uefa Champions League; a title Madrid had last won in the 60s. Not to discredit Sir Alex as a manger because when he calls time on his career, he will be more decorated than the Christmas Tree on Times Square on Christmas Eve! But it is more the conditions at Manchester United that have enabled him stay remain their manager so long rather than his own attributes.
Take the results of this season for instance. If Jose Mourinho had achieved what Ferguson achieved with Manchester United this year- a late season collapse to lose the league to Manchester City, failed to get out of a ridiculously simple Uefa Champions League group, and lose early in the Cup- I highly doubt Real Madrid would have offered him a new contract. The truth is that kind of a season at the Bernabeu no matter the manger and his reputation would have been met by a prompt sacking from El Presidente Perez. Ferguson's long tenure is due more to the fact that there is far less pressure and a greater acceptance of unspectacular seasons at Manchester United - a tolerance that has and will never come to be at Real Madrid or Barcelona for instance. Had he been managing one of the Spanish giants he would have been fired in any of the seasons of 1998, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, and 2012.
In the three seasons between 2004-2006, United did not win the league title neither did they impress in Europe. Yet there was never any doubt about the manager’s position. In the three seasons between 2009 and 2012 Madrid did not win the league title neither did they impress in Europe. By contrast, they had four managers and two presidents! So while we may want to cover Sir Alex’s long tenure at Manchester United as a long term strategy to ensure the club remains stable, the simple truth is that this “lack of stability” has not stopped any of the other top European clubs to enjoy success domestically and continentally.
The simple fact is that there is no other top European club that is so indebted to one particular manager for its success like Manchester United is. Sir Alex is Manchester United and Manchester United is Sir Alex.
COURTESY OF Five-Nil Sports (www.five-nil.com)