When trouble presents itself in any given situation, you always turn to Mr. Reliable, whoever that may be. This is no different at Manchester United, where Sir Alex Ferguson remains the man at the dizzying summit of the esteemed pecking order at Old Trafford.
The concern that has publicised itself to the Red Devils is the state of the ownership of the club, led by a family whom many United fans consider to have taken on the traits of the club’s aforementioned nickname too seriously. A vast number of the Old Trafford faithful are disgraced at the way that the American owners have injected finances with their debts, whilst taking very little notice of the traditions of the most prosperous club in Premier League history.
The most unforeseen twist to this tale is recent comments made by the man who epitomises Manchester United. Whilst being interviewed in the club’s pre-season tour of South Africa, Sir Alex Ferguson stated his support for the Glazers, a proclamation that contradicts the thoughts of many of his adoring supporters;
“I am comfortable with the Glazer situation. They have been great,” he explained. “They have always backed me whenever I have asked them. I have never faced any opposition.”
“They have always been as sensible as they can be in terms of financing the club. They have to invest in the team to maintain the value of their asset.”
“When the Glazers took over here there was dissatisfaction, so there have always been pockets of supporters who have their views. But I think the majority of real fans will look at it realistically and say it’s not affecting the team. We’ve won four championships since they’ve been there, one European Cup.”
While the almost constant flow of silverware at the club over the last few years is a valid point, it surely has to be the future that the Glazers’ financial deficiencies could affect the most. With figures released earlier this year suggesting that the owners have pumped even more of their debt into the club, the annually increasing numbers are a worrying sight.
After over a quarter of a century in charge at Old Trafford, Fergie will undoubtedly count himself as a loyal supporter, as well as the father of the club. Surely, as a fan, he would not agree with decisions made by the bigwig owners that display a complete unrelenting dismissal of fan consensus. Could it be that the 70-year-old daren’t demonstrate his true feelings toward the Americans; playing a tactical mind game with the press to avoid any awkward questions in the future? If this is the case, the arrival of a shift of power from manager to owner may have begun. If Sir Alex has not made these statements with genuine sincerity, siding with the despised owners rather than the fans that worship him, then no other Premier League manager stands a chance of speaking out. Perhaps fear of terminated employment would scare other managers away from making honest statements about their clubs’ owners. Maybe in order to quash a section of supporters who vehemently despise an owner, the manager will make generalised, positive statements to generate a sense of calm and tranquillity to a club. Whatever the case, the fact that owners are getting away with their actions, with the apparent support of the manager, generates confusion and disappointment, something not normally associated with a club like Man United in recent times. If the Glazers outlast Fergie, you may be wise to bet on the Scotsman voicing his true opinions when he is enjoying his well-earned retirement.