It has been a week that no true football fan will ever forget as Sir Alex Ferguson finally decided it was time to bring to an end his illustrious career as manager of Manchester United.
Manchester United will always be Sir Alex Ferguson’s creation. He made the club become the powerhouse in world football it is today. He did this by making the club itself the most important aspect and every club wanting success should learn from this. He made sure that no player was bigger than the club, that every individual fan was as important as anyone else and even that the club came before him and what he often wanted.
His ability to manage players and staff, to understand the game to the smallest of details and to understand what it takes to make a football club successful is why he has been as successful as he has. Sir Alex’s time at United is probably the only example of a manager being allowed almost complete control to make decisions which were in the interests of the club.
So many clubs have the rule over their managers and with Mancini now gone from United’s bitter rivals City it looks once again that united will remain an exception to the rest of the football world who seem fit to hire and sack new managers on a whim.
The man expected to replace Mancini offers the perfect example of a manager who in the past has be shown no support from the club that appointed him. Manuel Pellegrini had a brief spell as manager of the iconic club that is Real Madrid. I’m sure he went their full of hope that he could achieve great things and with a club like Madrid there is no reason to think otherwise.
It was apparent very quickly this wasn’t going to be the case though with the owner of Madrid telling Pellegrini not to play the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben who were arguably Madrid’s best players at the time. Pellegrini rightly ignored him but in turn knew by doing so that his reign at the club would be short lived and so it turned out.
My point here though is that we may never see what Sir Alex has created at united again. Players and owners alike go to that club and learn from and respect the man in charge. No other club is like this instead we see extravagant owners and player power take rule over any manager and this is true of so many clubs.
Sir Alex is not just a great manager he is a true gentleman of the game and has touched every aspect of football in his time as manager of United. Coventry City Football club is no exception and the club has many associations with the legend himself.
Of course there has been meetings between the two clubs ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. City’s record against United isn’t exactly great but then again very few clubs is. Only two wins since the beginning of the premier league in 1992 doesn’t make for a great read but they were victories to savour.
Highfield Road, December 1997 brought about city’s first victory in 18 attempts since the beginning of the premier league in 1992. Two Coventry City legends if like me you were growing up in the 90’s gave city fans a day to remember. The game looked lost as City trailed 2-1 with around 5 minutes to play but then a Dion Dublin penalty levelled it for City. A point would have been more than enough for every city fan but Darren Huckerby produced one of the most memorable goals in city’s recent history. It was the mazy dribble to leave Gary Neville sprawled on the floor followed by the coolest of finishes to send Highfield Road into pandemonium and left Alex Ferguson less than impressed.
A year before this great game saw a sad day and a horrific incident take place in a match between the two sides. It was to be the last ever match for one Coventry City player who suffered one of the most horrific injuries in the history of the premier league. David Busst’s extensive leg break ultimately ended his playing career.
A testimonial for Busst took place and this was to bring about another example of the truly great man that Sir Alex is. He didn’t just bring his young guns with him he brought his full squad of players and gave the game the mark of respect which we have all come to expect from him.
City’s most recent meeting with united surprisingly brought about a win for the Skyblues. A trip to old Trafford in the 3rd round of the carling cup saw city come out 2-0 winners thanks to a small, pacey frontman who goes by the name of Michael Mifsud.
Yes Sir Alex sent his young guns out but he would of expected them to go out and still beat what was let’s be honest not a great Coventry side. United did have the likes of Nani, Anderson, Carrick and even Gerrard Pique in the side so it was far from being a weak side and any victory at old Trafford is something worth celebrating. It is and will continue to be one of the few highs that us Coventry fans have had in recent times and one thing that is for certain is that our victory left Sir Alex chewing more vigorously than usual as he had plenty to reflect upon.
We have not just came up against Sir Alex though as we have had little influences from him in many different forms with Ex managers being his former players, our current manager being given rave reviews and young academy graduates being loaned to us to give us a helping hand.
Ex managers include the likes of Gordon Strachan and more recently Mark Robins who were both successful with the club in their own ways. Ex-players like goalkeeper Luke Steele and midfielder Oliver Norwood had a real impact at the club. It was nice to know that Sir Alex trusted our club to look after and help nurture some of his young talent.
Sir Alex is a man who has affected everyone in the world of football and he will go down in football’s history books not only as the best manger the world has ever known and probably will ever know but as a true gentleman of the footballing world.
Thank you Sir Alex for everything you have done for the beautiful game