The thing that has annoyed me more than anything since the Glazers took control is the Fergie debate. How can any Red in his or her right frame mind criticize the Wizard?
Since Mark Robins netted that vital goal in the third round cup tie in January 1990 away at the City Ground, we have not looked back. After seven games on the trot without victory it was widely expected that Fergie would get the chop if a cup exit came to pass away to Forest. Thank God for small mercies. We landed the FA Cup in1990 and the success reads as follows; Eleven league titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two European Cups a European Cup Winners Cup. The Boss has been true to his word, “knocking Liverpool right off their f%king perch” (and you can print that), and putting us right where we belong, among the echelons of European Superpowers.
Throughout his tenure Fergie has been in full control of all football matters within the club. A lesson not headed by many so called “giants” of the game, with the introduction of Directors of Football & technical structures to dictate to the Manager.
Under the stewardship of the Edwards dynasty, Ferguson would not tolerate any internal advice or direction and his stubbornness (ask the BBC), his finest attribute, shone through. It is safe to say that the majority of Reds were anti Martin Edwards and the decision to float the “company” was met with distaste across the red half of the city.
As the shareholding of the club was snapped up by many high profile investors and a lesser-known Glazer family from the States, the percentage holding was increasing for a smaller number of punters. The Irish duo of John Magnier and racehorse mogul JP McManus held the piece of the jigsaw the Glazers required to launch a formal takeover. The pair upped there stake to 28.9% in February 2004 through the company Cubic Expression; mainly out of spite to dare and oust Ferguson. This move came about after Ferguson set about suing Magnier over stud rights to racehorse Rock of Gibraltar.
The Boss had a cosy relationship with Magnier & McManus in horse racing circles up to this point as we had become as used to seeing Sir Alex in a top hat as much as Giggsy’s Welsh woolly number at Carrington during this “love in”.
Instead of succumbing to the pressure of the spiteful Irish duo Fergie, as so many times in the past, dug his Govan heels in and refused to be pushed from the club. The huge negative deriving factor from this battle however has been the takeover by the venomous Glazers in May 2005. Having leveraged the most profitable & best balance sheet in world football with circa £800m of debt caused and continues to cause huge ire among the Faithful Reds.
Divided is the opinion with Fergie’s attitude since the takeover. Many supporters are highly strung about the fact the boss has sided with the American owners and has continually reiterated that there is a mutual understanding and respect between both parties. I fully understand this stance from Sir Alex; I despise the Glazers and everything they represent. The fact our club, our “one love” has been treated as an “asset” by an American investment vehicle makes me sick to the core.
As recent as May 2010 the Wizard has been quoted as saying, “They’ve been great owners”; “They have supported me every way I’ve asked them”. The cynic in me believes that deep down the gaffer is of course anti-Glazer. Being a natural socialist from a working class Scottish background, how could he justify, how they have embarrassed & diminished what Manchester United Football Club stands for?
The repeated sound byte this season around the youth policy now being implemented by the club, further demonstrates the fact there is minimal transfer funds available. Take the Ronaldo transfer, it was stated on numerous occasions last season that these funds were readily available to the manager. Obviously not the case. No marquee summer signing, which was surprising but not wholly unexpected as we were linked with every bright spark in South Africa. The only positive being the punt we took on Hernandez prior to the tournament, a signature we would almost certainly not have completed after the tournament with an inflated price after his fantastic performances in the World Cup.
All of which results in Ferguson defying the odds and staying onside with the Glazers. The litmus paper could well have been lit for an attack on the yanks with Rooneygate earlier this season, but yet again Fergie won the day with Rooney reversing his desire to leave after a stern meeting in the corridors of power with the boss.
If you put yourself in the managers shoes for a second, just think if you were a business manager in the best show in town, you love your job, despise the competition, would die for the organisation? You would keep your mouth shut if taken over by dripping dogs.
Alex Ferguson would die for the Red Devils, don’t ever think otherwise. I fully believe when he updates his autobiography for the umpteenth time upon his retirement we will get the Glazer backlash, in fact I would bet my life on it.
He is a genius. Who ever thought Sir Matt would be surpassed? Nobody. We need to always look at the bigger picture. If ever in doubt to his allegiance, shut your eyes for a second and think of the smile and Granddaddy dance that greets the away end in Anfield when we net against the enemy.
SAF. One Love.
Follow Richard Dunne on Twitter at @richydunne
He’s a genius but he makes errors. He’s as stubborn as anyone and that can be his downfall. I’m only playing devils advocate because I bow down to the guy as much as the next United fan!
His handling of the media in particular is something he’s criticised for and to an extent I can agree on that.
With regards to Fergie and the owners, of course he’s always going to publicly support them or at least not criticise them…he needs to have a positive working relationship with them and any public criticism would affect various areas of the club. Hopefully, deep down he hate how the club is being run. As a staunch trade unionist he should.
The ultimate praise is that when people think of Man United they probably first and foremost think of him.
Brilliant article, one can hear the passion in the writing of the words.Sir Alex as you do know surpasses that other Icon that United have had at the helm of this magnifcent Club.On the 19th aptly we visit Chelsea and lets hope, nah pray, we get a great result on this day and the United players we currently have recognise this and turn it on “big time” for our Boss.
Within the context of the article I firmly believe that Sir Alex like most United supporters are not financial wizards and he takes advice from David Gill, and he is trustworthy as we all know! Forked tongues to the fore.
Great article Rich. I agree with your stance on Fergie. The politics of the club are always an emotive subject for us die-hard Reds but the man should be solely judged on results on the pitch…and lets face it no one can doubt those achievements. Fergie’s stance on the Glazers is the same as any employee who works for a boss that does stuff others don’t agree with…what would we prefer? That he resigned??? So The Glazers could bring in a puppet manager?? I’m happy for SAF to concentrate on football matters and let the others play out the pantomime that is MUFC behind the scenes.
Read on a site that an offer of about 1.2b has been offered from a Qatar group to buy MU, but am not sure if its true… but the quicker the Glazers are overthrown the better I believe
Brilliant article Rich, really well written. I think your points further illustrate why Fergie is such a great manager. The best. As Rob states above, Fergie should be judged on results and silverware and not how he behaves with the press or butters up to the owners. Yes Fergie has made mistakes, but who hasnt, he’s human but what you cant take away is the success that we have seen over the past 20 years. I think this is largely down to him having the “freedom” and control of the footballing aspects of the club. In this situation there is no hiding place for the manager. Clubs like Newcastle, Blackburn, Chelsea etc where there is massive interference from the owners, is it really the managers fault when things go wrong? You cant be sure, because there are too many cooks… The owners at Old Trafford aren’t completely stupid either and I honestly believe that if Fergie did want money to ensure success at the club, the owners would have the sense to oblige. With Fergie suggesting there is no value in the market, its clear that there isn’t a bottomless pit of cash available but if Fergie thought the right player was out there at a price he was willing to pay, Im sure it would be made available. Lets not forget the Glazers have stumped up in the past, most notably for Berbatov. However, I also believe that this is the case because our manager is the great Sir Alex Ferguson, he’s got a proven track record, he has the respect of the Glazers. I personally fear the day that Fergie says farewell to Old Trafford, I think we seriously have to brace ourselves for some dark days ahead. If we do not get a manager that can earn the instant respect of the Glazers we could see a number of quick successors passing through the doors of our great club.