Friday, 10 May 2013
When I woke up in the morning to the confirmation of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, it was a real shock to me. It felt as if someone had died.
Because you always knew it was going to happen at some point, but never thought the day would actually come around. I was straight on the phone to discuss this with my other football enthusiasts to hear their thoughts on the matter, and many of the responses were quite similar. Comments along the lines of, "Great manager, will be missed", "I wonder who will replace him?" followed by, "I don't think anyone is good enough."
And in retrospect, he was a great manager - his success speaks for itself. 49 trophies including all the major ones, and a legacy of success with Manchester United. He truly is one of the greatest football managers to ever live. Now as a Liverpool Fan, Sir Alex came to Manchester United with in my opinion, quite a ridiculous aim. To catch and overtake Liverpool, making Manchester United the most dominant English Club.
It is fair to say, I have been taught to dislike Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson. There have been times in the Liverpool and Manchester United rivalry that I have been bitterly angry with comments made by Sir Alex as I, just like other loyal Liverpool Fans, are passionate about our club and dislike anyone or anything treating it with disrespect.
That being said, I want to not only speak as a Liverpool fan, but also as a football enthusiast and passionate lover of the game. Sir Alex Ferguson has been one of the greatest - if not the greatest - asset to English football over the past 26 years. He has brought incredible levels of success and innovation in man management, squad creation, title and trophy winning and consistent success. He is, in my opinion, the model manager that football clubs should be looking to emulate. This is much unlike Chelsea's "you lose 2 games your fired" policy, or Real Madrid's "the league title is not good enough because you are boring" policy. In my opinion, Ferguson has lived out the way football clubs should look to move forward. You find the man whose abilities you believe in and who you want for the long term and then you stick with that man.
Although clubs such as Chelsea have achieved some form of success, my belief is that their highest level of success came under the stability and consistency of Jose Mourinho, who I believe is the greatest manager of all time.
As a Liverpool fan, I would like to thank Sir Alex Ferguson for the great rivalry, for the great success and for the great influence he has had on world football, and especially English football. His career has been far from perfect, and like all managers he has made some mistakes, poor signings, poor formation decisions on certain occasions. Missing out on Joe Hart, the signing of Eric Djemba-Djemba and Kleberson, and the sale of Jaap Stam stand out as poor decisions. However, in his 26 years his successes far exceeds his failures. He did exactly what he said he would do, and made Manchester United the biggest club in England and arguably, one of the biggest in the world.
As much as that hurts to admit, I do not want to be a bitter Liverpool Fan who just abuses him, writing about how happy they are that he is retired and that he is an idiot.
I want to commend him, and as I desire to be successful and achieve great things in whatever I do, he is a great example of success in football no matter how much we are taught to hate Manchester United.
I am sure some Liverpool fans may read this and question my loyalty to Liverpool or think I should hate him because he was our rivals manager, but I request that in this time you grow up and commend him for all he has done.
That being said, I should have an equal hatred for the new man who is taking over at Manchester United but again, I don't. I will be very clear regarding my thoughts on David Moyes and him taking the role. But firstly, if I were a Manchester United fan there would have been 2 managers I would have wanted before choosing David Moyes.
Number 1 - Jose Mourinho. Why? He is the greatest manager of all time and undoubtedly successful everywhere he goes. He is the only man who would be 100% confident in stepping into the shoes of Sir Alex and has the charisma and results to back him up. I am biased for sure as he is my favourite manager.
Number 2 is more controversial, but after much deliberation I decided i would have preferred Bayern Munich's manager, Jupp Heynckes. It has been said that he is retiring at the end of the season, so this is solely based on whether he would have taken the job or not. Sure we will never know, but I really believe that he has more been kicked out of the back door at Bayern than happily surrendering his position.
Bayern's success this season is the form of the best team in the world, no question. The way they dismantled of Barcelona over 2 legs was a master-class in football. He has the success to demand respect and in my view would have been someone with another fair shout for job with my only reservation being his age.
Instead, Manchester United chose David Moyes. They offered him a 6 year deal and he will take up the post at the end of the season.
I have heard different perspectives. So I'll get straight to it. Is it a risk? No.. I don't think it is. And this is why.
David Moyes at Everton is the closest we have to replicating the model management I spoke about above (along with Arsene Wenger), and is a philosophy Manchester United will for sure want to continue.
Number 2, Ferguson recommended him as his chosen candidate for the job which speaks for itself.
Number 3, Moyes has the qualities and skills required to manage a big club. What he has done at Everton again as a Liverpool fan is something I commend. To keep them batting above their weight consistently is a terrific achievement, working on a low budget, which must be the lowest of the top 7 for the last 11 years. He has made some terrific signings including Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Nikica Jelavić and Kevin Mirallas to name a few. The fact that Manchester United offered Moyes a six year deal displays there confidence in both him and the model management style. I believe Moyes won't take long to settle into his new role, he has the foundations and legacy already in place for him and I believe it won't take long for him to add a trophy to his CV.
I will go out on a limb early and say this - I believe Manchester United will sign Leighton Baines, I also believe they will win the Premier League again next year. I think Roberto Martinez is likely to take over at Everton- especially if Wigan are to go down, but I am not sure Everton's success will continue. It could, and only time will tell but I am not convinced.
What I am wondering is what do Manchester United fans think? Is Moyes the right man? Would you have gone for anyone else? I am sure you have nothing but love and respect for Sir Alex, and he has left a footballing legacy that will not be erased. His retirement has truly changed the face of football.
We heard not too long ago that Mario Götze has agreed to move to Bayern Munich in the summer for 37million euros. (31.5 million pounds) Bayern activated the release clause in his contract and if everything goes to plan he will be there player in the summer. Although for many Borussia Dortmund fans, this caused feelings of disappointment, frustration, sadness, and some even outrage. I think if you take a long hard look Borussia Dortmund know exactly what they are doing. Yes undeniably there is a sense of disappointment that may have been appease if Mario Götze was heading abroad to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United or another one of Europe's Elites instead of Bayern Munich but what has been overlooked is just how well prepared for success Borussia Dortmund actually are and the quality they possess ready to step up. Mario Götze is undoubtedly one of the highest rated youngsters in world football and at just 20 years of age has a wonderful future ahead of him and Borussia Dortmund have been given a price tag that reflects that.
How are they prepared?
Who do Borussia Dortmund have already within as a replacement?
Borussia Dortmund's youth academy is one of the best in Europe and has had a lot of investment and I'm convinced they will see the fruits of there investment in the coming years.
Leonardo Bittencourt is an exciting young and dynamic midfielder, he can play all across the midfield and has a high level of passing and vision. He is another Dortmund midfielder with huge potential, one quality he possesses that is clear for all to see, is his lightening fast pace. He signed for Borussia Dortmund July 2012 on a 4 year deal and is a more direct replacement for Mario Götze although young and may not be ready to play the level of games Mario Götze currently plays. He's played 5 games this season getting a goal and assist. This is what Jürgen Klopp had to say about the young teen "He is quick, technically good and he has already come a long way. Leo is almost a perfect fit for our squad." this was his first goal for the first team.
Although not a direct replacement for Mario Götze, Moritz Leitner is a 20 year old centre midfield in the Borussia Dortmund ranks, he's an incredibly talented youngster. He's employed more as a deep lying player and is more direct competition for the likes of Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender but watching him play, he's very comfortable on the ball and could comfortably play higher up the park as part of Dortmund's 3 attacking midfielders (currently Marco Reus, Mario Götze and Jakub Błaszczykowski (Kuba) Leitner moved to Borussia Dortmund from 1860 München in January 2011, he went out on loan to FC Augsburg for the rest of the season where he won promotion with a 2nd place league finish. Leitner has played 28 games this season (10 starts, 18 sub apps) He is certainly one to watch and one who I can see establishing himself firmly in the middle of the park for Borussia Dortmund in the next few years.
So that's some of the talent breaking through in the Borussia Dortmund first team in midfield. There's also the likes of Jonas Hofmann and Marvin Bakalorz who I haven't spoken about coming through the ranks too. In my opinion Borussia Dortmund are fully prepared for the departure of Mario Götze and if they feel as if they need to strengthen they will be 31 and half million pounds richer to add to there squad. Potentially more dependant upon other departures and summer transfer budget. They have been linked with the likes of Ajax's Christian Eriksen, Schalke Julian Draxler and Chelsea Kevin De Bruyne and let's remember they lost Shinji Kagawa to Manchester United last summer and replaced him with Marco Reus who has been a revelation since signing. Dortmund are clearly a very well run and prepared football club.