For the last couple of years, there has been rampant speculation as to when Sir Alex Ferguson would end his tenure as head of Manchester United. Many feel that this could indeed be his last season with the team. About the only person that is speculating otherwise is Sir Alex himself.
This past week, the Manchester United chief clearly confirmed his intent to stay on with the club during an interview with the Abu Dhabi sports channel. He stated that he was “hoping to stay on for a bit of time.” Severalnames have been brought up as potential replacements for Sir Alex, including Pep Guardiola. Guardiola is currently on a one-year sabbatical from the game and has been reportedly meeting with Sir Alex regarding taking over the squad.
Ferguson just turned 71 this past Monday and has been with United for over 26 years. Should Ferguson indeed step down, there are several strong candidates that could be waiting in the wings. Besides Guardiola, Jose Mourinho is expected to leave Real Madrid after this season and Everton’s manager David Moyes’ contract is about to expire. Should Fergie indeed step down at the end of the season, the squad would have a tough choice to make in regards to a future replacement.
Fergie has never been one to shy away from controversy as he is known to speak his mind, sometimes even to his own detriment. He is currently facing an inquiry from the FA about comments about an official and has even been suspended in the past because of comments about officials. However, even with his tendency to speak his mind, he has always commanded the respect of his players and many look up to the man as a father figure.
In addition, Sir Alex has been very involved in community affairs and with charity. His influence has also prompted others to take part in charity. For instance, Jonny Evans and several ManU stars took part in the Red Devil’s charity poker event recently that benefited a Irish hospice.
If Fergie is bluffing about his upcoming retirement, he definitely has his poker face perfected. Perhaps he picked up his bluffing abilities from Johnny Evans. Evan won the aforementioned charity poker tourney and likely gave Sir Alex tips about not “showing his cards” regarding his retirement.
Even if Sir Alex were to retire, his replacement will by no means be guaranteed a long and storied career. As Ferguson pointed out in his interview “you could be talking about one of the potentially exciting young managers in the game, but is he going to be here in two or three years’ time? The sack race is horrendous. Sometimes a manager can only survive four games if he doesn’t win a match.”
As long as the squad is productive, the only person that will be able to tell Fergie to retire is Fergie. Until that time comes, we can just sit back, speculate, and enjoy the end of a storied career at Old Trafford.