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?”

Three Fergie Fails

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May 8th, 2013

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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.

Taibi Time

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.

1 Response

Posted by Jez on

So, is there a purpose to this article? 3 times he’s got it wrong against hundreds of times he’s got it right? I’m not even a United fan, but I’m not sure why anyone would look to criticise Sir Alex on the day he announced retirement. Just to buck the trend of the very deserved plaudits he is receiving? How hip. Has the midfield been as big of a problem as is portrayed, after winning the title 5 times in 7 years, and making 3 Champions League finals, winning one, and losing twice only to arguably the best club side of the modern era? Carrick has been underrated for years, and Fletcher was huge before his illness sidelined him, Scholes has been excellent up until his retirement and even came out of retirement very strong. It was difficult to predict that Hargreaves wouldn’t ever return, and that the dubbed “future midfield” in Pogba and Morrison would force departures impatiently. As for Gazza, hugely talented, but after missing out on Gazza, United went on to dominate pretty much the entire following decade. Would Gazza have straightened up if he picked United instead of Spurs? Who knows, but United were spoiled with having Ince, Keane, Butt, Scholes, Beckham, McClair amongst others in that position over the following few years, so not exactly a major loss. Gazza never really set the world alight with his talent, but instead was lambasted for not living up to his potential. It could easily be considered a dodged bullet than a failure. I remember the goalkeeper struggle, and that was a bit of a mare, but then again, how do you replace Peter Schmeichel? Anyone who replaced him was immediately going to be branded as inferior. It took several years of experimenting until veteran Van Der Sar took over to truly replace him. Even today, the very very talented De Gea gets unfairly slagged off, getting unfair comparisons to Schmeichel and VDS…

Sir Alex is human, so of course he gets things wrong. The ones you have picked seem quite petty and trivial, when you could have opted for incidents such as bending over backwards when Rooney kicked his toys out of the pram, being too lax when Ronaldinho was made available from PSG, choosing to accommodate Berbatov and as a result ousting Tevez out, to name a few, ones he was actually at fault for. To make so few mistakes and prove many wrong over a glory-laden 35 year managerial career is quite unparalleled really.

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