United close to crucial turning point

All good things must come to an end, even in football, and next summer it looks like one of the greatest managerial reigns the game has seen will finally come to an end.

It hasn’t been confirmed and remains in the realms of tabloid tittle tattle, but if the rumours are true then Sir Alex Ferguson will be hanging hang up the hairdryer for good and will vacate the Man United hot seat that has been his own since 1986.

The timing would certainly make sense, at nearly 70 Fergie is already a veteran and has called off his retirement once already. With his team one win title away from becoming the most successful English domestic side – something the betting odds suggest could happen this season – it would be a fitting way to bow out.

A quick look at the playing staff also suggests it would be time to go. Fergie has built three sides in his time at Old Trafford. The Cantona inspired XI of the mid 90s, Beckham’s treble winners in 1999 and Ronaldo led Champions League winners of 2008.

Each side needed considerable time, effort and money to build, something Ferguson doesn’t really have anymore.

Look at the present squad. Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Edwin Van Der Sar are all in their mid to late 30s and will need replacing. I imagine they would see Fergie’s retirement as an ideal time to go themselves. But how do you replace a player like Ryan Giggs? Where is the next Paul Scholes? I imagine Ferguson is thinking the same thing.

Add to that the concerns over the fitness of Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves and rumours of a summer departure for Nemanja Vidic and it seems like almost the entire side will need to be replaced in the next two or three years.

All teams get old and need refreshing but after such a long, sustained period of success with such managerial stability it would be interesting to see how the club copes with such dramatic changes. True the right man could breeze into Old Trafford with fresh, new and innovative ideas and bring fresh success to the club.

But on the other hand, especially if Ferguson were to remain at the club in an advisory capacity as suggested, the club could soon fit a revolving door in the manager’s office as each candidate struggles to emerge from the Scotsman’s looming, almost omnipresent shadow.

Meanwhile, the fitness of Wayne Rooney will be crucial to England’s World Cup hopes this season.

Many people have made the Three Lions their World Cup tips but an injury to their leading striker could destroy their chances.