Monday, March 02, 2009

Who Should Take Over From Alex Ferguson?

Being a die hard Red Devils fan since the late-70s, I have endured difficult periods the club went through. Safe to say that the revival of MU, back to the glory days of the 60s, had a lot to do with the appointment of Alex Ferguson. The tenure of Ferguson shows that stability of the manager is extremely crucial to long term team building, morale and continuation of football values and what the club stands for. There was an article today which quoted Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand as insisting that Jose Mourinho has what it takes to succeed Alex Ferguson as Red Devils manager.

England center-half Ferdinand reckons the Portuguese coach has the credentials to follow in 67-year-old Ferguson's footsteps. Mourinho, who guided Chelsea to two English Premier League titles, is manager of Italian champions Inter Milan, who face United in the Champions League round of 16.

"There are very few people who could take over," Ferdinand told GQ magazine. "If you're talking about someone with the ego and personality to do it, then Jose Mourinho is the name that jumps out at you."

However, United legend Bobby Charlton does not believe Mourinho would be able to build on Ferguson's legacy. "I don't see him here," the World Cup winner told The Mail on Sunday newspaper. "He's got a talent but maybe if he ever came here the philosophy of youth football might never be the same again."

Fellow club hero Bryan Robson added: "Attacking football is a vital part of the club's heritage. For me, Jose Mourinho is too cautious in his approach to be manager."

Ferdinand gave an insight into the kind of personality required for the job as he detailed. Ferguson's notorious "hairdryer" treatment - giving players a full-on verbal roasting. "If you talk back to him, he just keeps going louder and louder until you

shut up," he said. "And he's right to do it and we all know that if we do it again, we'll be out the door. He's a winner, full stop."

Well, I think Mourdingo is a good manager but too egotistical, he needs to be more important than the club. Plus I don't think he will last long at the club. He will probably antagonise the owners and management too much with what he wants and will try and bulldoze his ways. He has done well with Porto but at the big stage, he has only been with Chelsea with an open cheque book. He has not shown any ability to bring players through the ranks, nurturing them.

Ferguson is also egotistical but he has earned the respect hence he can demand it. He works closely with management and owners. He has built up a critical young players program which feeds through the team and gives it a sense of belonging and culture. Whoever comes in has to continue the tradition and respect the values. Many opposing club supporters will cringe when I say the values that MU represents: "good open attacking football". MU may not be absolutely clean or perfect but they strive to be clean and fair, MU's one fallacy is also their strong point - the refusal to do restrictive man-to-man marking. That is why you will see all teams being able to wander as they like upfield instead of being tackled hard and close every time they get the ball. MU rely on maintaining structure and inviting teams to attack if they can. Football can be too pragmatic like the overly defensive Germany style or the robust tackling of the Italians. Cynical fouls are less by MU as well. Hence whoever takes over will have to have the ability to manage and nurture the culture, as well as having the footballing sense to maintain or elevate MU further.

My number one choice has to be Martin O'Neill. He is smart, passionate and has worked wonders with lesser teams. Any teams he has been with has seen their fortunes and camaraderie elevated. He will have the respect, and he is British enough to respect the roots of an English football club. What that means is not to turn the team with great tradition into one where they are fielding 9 non-English players, you know what I mean. I also think he is football's best tactician. Plus he will be there for a long time.

p/s photos: Zhou Wei Tong


Butt said...

I agree with u on this. Martin O'Neil is the right man...just look at what he's done as Villa Park over the years.

Arn said...

Either Carlos Queiroz or David Moyes.

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