On this day 35 years ago: Sir Alex Ferguson was appointed manager of Manchester United

(Football news) Sir Alex Ferguson’s almost 27 years at Manchester United can only be described as a dynasty, few figures in sport have been as impactful in changing the fortunes of a sporting institution with the only other that immediately springs to my mind is Phil Jackson’s time at Chicago Bulls from 1989 to 1998, winning six NBA Championships during his tenure. However, when it comes to prolonged periods of success, few can match the legendary Scotsman who transformed Manchester United from a sleeping giant to one of the biggest football clubs in the world.

In Sir Alex Ferguson’s book Leading, the legendary manager said “We had a virus that infected everyone at United. It was called winning.” The 79 year old’s achievements speak for themself, Premier League champion (13), FA Cup (5), Football League Cup (4), Community Shield (10), UEFA Champions League (2), European Cup Winners Cup (1), European Super Cup (1), Intercontinental Cup (1) and FIFA Club World Cup (1). His individual accolades are simply so many that it would be pointless to list them all, such was his contribution to Manchester United that the former United Road Stand at Old Trafford was renamed The Sir Alex Ferguson Stand on 5th November 2011 and a 9 foot statue was erected outside the stand on 23 November 2012.

What separated Ferguson compared to his peers was his ability to adapt to different eras of the sport while ensuring the present was not compromised in a rebuilding process. He took over a Manchester United team in disarray from Ron Atkinson and despite not getting instant results, transformed the team into a team of world beaters that could compete for the highest honours year after year. The Manchester United way has traditionally been to promote youth and with the Class of 92 the club had produced the likes of Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville who went on to serve their boyhood club for years if not decades to come. Ferguson was always an authoritative but a father figure at the club and his excellent man management paid dividends in the handling of Eric Cantona, who went on to become one of the most impactful signings in Premier League history.

Sir Alex Ferguson has faced the likes of Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez, all top managers in their own capacity but has come out on top every single time. What marks him as a great manager is that every single opponent who has faced him has never had anything but respect and admiration for the Scotsman. He became a symbol of patience in an era where Premier League owners would fire managers if a few results didn’t go their way and changed the way success was perceived in England to a more long term view. It’s fair to say that Ferguson’s retirement did not just signal an end of a dynasty but also an era where managers remained at a club for decades, enjoying unparalleled levels of success in the process. There won’t be another Sir Alex Ferguson in the top flight of football and the Scotsman legacy will remain stuff of legends for generations to come.

Also read: Premier League preview: Man Utd host City while Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool expected to gain three points


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