It’s not part of tradition to speak ill of those leaving, retiring from the game of football, after achieving so much. But Alex Ferguson is leaving Manchester United as the beloved man the media tries to portray him as. There are quite a few fans, not just opposing managers, filled with smiles for about 24 hours, knowing that someone they couldn’t stand watching is departing the sidelines for good.
It’s obvious that the ways Manchester United fans and the rest of the world views Sir Alex are completely different. For red devils supporters, this is the closest they’ll have to a god-like figure. United were popular, worldwide, before Ferguson left Aberdeen and became their manager, but it’s impossible to compare thing from 27 years ago to where they are now.
Ferguson realized how to take care of the short term, long term and financially all at once. A man of vision, who realized how to make everything work just as the sport was becoming more global, more accessible to everyone, bringing with it more money.
Ferguson destroyed everything and everyone that stood in his way. Players who disagreed, managers who were his rivals. While he fights for the rights of some, it’s always those who were never his rivals. He and Arsene Wenger were never the best of friends, but Ferguson started taking the Frenchman’s presence a little more lightly once Arsenal began their great decline. Jose Mourinho became his BFF only after leaving Chelsea to Italy, where he was no longer an arrogant threat Ferguson struggled to beat.
But Roberto Mancini? He’s a rival. Rafa Benitez? Always was, always will be, and not because he made those motions with his hands while Liverpool were destroying Blackburn. It was always about destroying the competition, and leaving nothing around. United always have new competition to try and displace them at the top, but Ferguson and his brood always remain while others go through turmoil.
And there was the hypocrisy Ferguson bullied players, referees and the FA. He has served suspensions, but not as long as he should have gotten. The numbers of penalties, red and extra injury minutes given at Old Trafford is quite incredible, all during Ferguson’s rule. Referees always go with the stronger team, but things have always been a little bit weird in favor of United in the theater of dreams.
Ferguson always had something to say about things that had nothing to do with his team. Never missed a chance to get a dig and a stab at a manager he disliked, telling everyone how he thinks things should go. Every defeat was the fault of refs, or ungentlemanly like opposing players, while his own pupils acted just as bad under his impregnable protection.
I get it; he did what he thought was best for his team. But it wasn’t good for the sport. It was never about sportsmanship, respect and all that crap FIFA loves to promote, or people think Ferguson represented. It was always about winning, no matter how many lies the media had to hear.
He’s a great champion, but he never seemed like a great man. I won’t miss him, and I’m not alone in it.