Manchester United without Sir Alex Ferguson is like Ben without Jerry, or eating biscuits with the cheese – it’s just unimaginable. But let’s be honest, he can’t go on forever – even if Eric Cantona does liken the Scot to Ghandi. At 69, retirement is just around the corner and nobody really knows what is going to happen once the great man goes. Cantona is predicting dark days. Is he right? Is the day Fergie retires the day all Manchester United fans dread more than anything?
I’ve personally always felt that Ferguson would carry on until he was carried out of the Old Trafford doors on his death bed. Unless that is, he can achieve what he set out to do as Manchester United manager when he took over all those years ago: ‘Knock Liverpool off their perch’. That is dangerously close. If United manage to see out the rest of the Premier League campaign in the same fashion as they have been doing, they will seal a record 19th championship crown – one more than their fierce rivals from Merseyside. Admittedly, Liverpool will still have the five European crowns to throw back into United’s face, and I can’t seem them bridging that gap in Ferguson’s limited time that he has left, but the aim was always to dominate domestically, and he has definitely achieved that. One more would just be the icing on the cake.
But whenever he does decide to call it a day, is it going to be curtains on a tremendous spell of dominance for Manchester United? Is Sir Alex the reason that teams like Chelsea and Arsenal have struggled to maintain a real threat to their crown? I know Chelsea are the current champions, but we can’t forget that United held the Premier League trophy proudly for three years prior. When a new man comes in, you have the feeling that they are going to want to do things their own way. Change is on the horizon. What it is going to do for United only time will tell.
We could spend hours speculating who is going to try and fill Fergie’s shoes, but whoever it is, they are going to face one huge problem: Ferguson holds an awful lot of influence of every going on at Old Trafford. So if Mourinho or even Cantona himself does take over, will they be given the same rights of control? I’m guessing not. It could even be a time when we start to see the Glazers running the club their own way – not the Fergie way.
There are definitely worrying times ahead for Manchester United. For now, Ferguson insists he is fit, healthy and ready to do battle over and over again. Ryan Giggs has signed another one-year deal, Paul Scholes is mulling one over (but I’d be surprised if decided to call it a day) and the manager has tied down his other experienced stars to long-term deals. But uncertainty isn’t too far away. Fergie will no doubt have a massive say in who takes over, but after that it’s an end to a remarkable era and the start of a very uncertain one. It’s soon to be squeaky-bum time for United fans, and I for one am not looking forward to it.
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Fergie’s time at Old Trafford might be coming to an end soon rather than later, but Paul Pogba should be there for many years to come. Watch the video below to see why…