Three Fergie Fails
As Sir Alex Ferguson announces his retirement as manager of champions Manchester United, and a sweeping tide of tributes filters in from every corner of the globe, you won’t find many writers willing to take a stand and loudly announce “hang on, what about that time he blamed it on the grey kit?”
May 8th, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, this writer is one of those writers. Without further ado, here are three occasions in which the dearly departing manager didn’t endear himself to many.
A Problem Like Midfield?
Ferguson has come under heavy fire for his seeming refusal to strengthen a midfield which, while not exactly leaking possession and attacking opportunities, certainly seems to be dripping a bit. With several high-profile departures from the club during 2009 and 2010, Ferguson worked on blooding youngsters over the next couple of seasons – with varying success. It took the retirement and reinstatement of senior ginger Paul Scholes to make Fergie realise that he may have played his hand too soon.
Gazza’s Change of Heart
This one might be down to a more determined Spurs side than Fergie’s own slip-up, but with a young, talented and hungry Paul Gascoigne all ready and set to sign for his team, Sir Alex promptly took a holiday – and returned to find that Spurs had signed Gazza instead.
“They bought a house for his mother and father in the north east and that swung it,” said Ferguson of the missed signing. Both men have since regretted not joining up for what would have surely signalled an earlier resurgence in United’s lifetime.
Between Peter Schmeichel’s retirement and the acquisition of World Cup winner Fabien Barthez at the turn of the millennium, Ferguson decided to have a three-way fight for the number one jersey; with Mark Bosnich, Raimond Van Der Gouw and the ‘Blind Venetian’ as he became known. After only four matches as first-choice keeper (and a Man of the Match award on his debut), it quickly became clear that Taibi was no Schmeichel; he made some absolute clangers – notably during the 5-0 defeat to Chelsea but most notably including this concession against a Matt Le Tissier backpass.