Manchester United: The Curse of Alex Ferguson | sports


Solskjaer and Michael Carrick on 26 September in the stands at Brighton Stadium.
Solskjaer and Michael Carrick on 26 September in the stands at Brighton Stadium.GLYN KIRK (Reuters)

Of Alex Ferguson’s 1,500 consecutive games in his 27 seasons (1986-2013) as Manchester United manager, to the sixth manager in the last eight seasons. The Old Trafford bench has gone from being Sir Alex’s lush garden to a precise time bomb that dynamites everyone who sits on it, regardless of nationality and experience.

The results also do not understand or respect history or tradition. In 94 years, from 1892, when the figure of the manager as such was made official in the club, to 1986, when Ferguson arrived, United boasted of their benevolence and patience with their technicians. He had only been 19. One of them was Matt Busby, a survivor of the accident in which eight staff members and 15 other travelers died, when the plane in which they were traveling crashed in the attempted landing at Munich airport, after play a match in the European Cup (February 6, 1958).

Also Scottish, Busby led the team from 1945 to 1969, with the parenthesis forced by his recovery from the accident. He was then replaced on an interim basis by his second, Jimmy Murphy (22 games). In that first stage, he led the team in 1,120 games. After retiring at the age of 60, the club’s circumstances made him come back in 70-71 (21 games). Under his tenure, the club won its first European Cup (1968), five Leagues, five Community Shields and two FA Cups.

Solskjaer now dismissed, the one chosen to replace him provisionally has been Michael Carrick (40 years old), a member of his technical staff and who had previously worked with Mourinho in 2018 after the departure of assistant Rui Faría. It is the third time in recent years that the Old Trafford club has resorted to this interim figure with varying results. On the first occasion, when he fired David Moyes in April 2014, Bryan Giggs led the team in the last four games of the season, while Louis Van Gaal was chosen as the head of the following season.

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The second was after the dismissal of José Mourinho in December 2018. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Camp Nou hero, scorer of the goal that gave Manchester United the Champions League against Bayern in 1999, coached Molde, with whom he had a contract in valid until 2022. Surprisingly, the English club asked the Norwegian club for his loan until the end of the season and the coach himself accepted the opportunity without caring about the interim tag with which he landed in Manchester. The team’s reaction, with 14 victories and two draws in 19 games, convinced the managers, who made it a permanent fixture; signed a contract until 2022. The man with the face of a child and an eternal smile was no longer the longest-lasting provisional coach in the history of the Premier. Last July the club extended his commitment again until 2024.

Not Moyes. Not Van Gaal. Not Mourinho. Not Solskjaer. All blessed, at first, by Alex Ferguson and all victims, later, of the eternal comparison with the past installed in the club. Equalization that also coincides with greater competition both domestically and in European competitions and which is reflected especially in recent years with the other great club in the city, City.

During the Ferguson era, Old Trafford’s showcases had to be expanded, 39 titles: two European Cups, one Club World Cup, one Intercontinental, one Recopa, two European Super Cups, 13 Premier, 10 Community, five FA Cup and four League Cups. Since their goodbye, United have only won four titles: a Europa League, an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Community Shield, to 13 of their eternal rival: four Premier, one FA Cup, six League Cups and two Community Shields.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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