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Stand and deliver

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Phil McNulty | 08:41 UK time, Sunday, 6 November 2011

Not much has slipped beneath Sir Alex Ferguson's radar in 25 years at Old Trafford - but even he failed to detect arguably the greatest tribute Manchester United have paid to any single figure in their history.

As Ferguson marched briskly through a guard of honour formed by the players of United and Sunderland towards chief executive David Gill on the centre spot to mark his silver anniversary, he was unaware of the moment his place at the famous old stadium became permanent.

What followed was pure Theatre of Dreams as Gill announced Old Trafford's giant North Stand would now be named the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.

Workmen perched along the skyline removed a veil to reveal the sign that will stand as a monument to the great manager's reign.

Fergie

Sir Alex Ferguson walks out to a guard of honour after 25 years as Manchester United manager . PHOTO: Getty

Ferguson turned around in genuine shock. Even after United's 1-0 win over Sunderland, he seemed emotionally drained by the scale of what United had done in his honour. And why not?

It is the success fashioned by Ferguson that enabled the club to build - and fill - the stand on a regular basis. United's other legendary Scottish manager has Sir Matt Busby Way, which runs alongside the stadium.

The trinity of George Best, Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton each have a statue - but no-one, as Gill was at pains to emphasise, has ever had a section of Old Trafford honoured in their name.

Say what you like about Ferguson - and we all have - but seeing the giant red lettering adorning what was known as the plain old North Stand crystallised the achievements of the manager who has defined the Premier League era.

Ferguson was touched as he claimed "about 105 of my family" were in attendance for his big day. He will also get a statue in the shadow of his stand before the start of next season to emphasise his status as a towering influence on the Manchester United story.

The newly named structure will stand as evidence of the empire Ferguson has built since arriving at Old Trafford from Aberdeen in 1986 to start this tale of managerial success.

Ferguson's name was stamped, literally, over every moment of an occasion that provided far more colour than a game that was, for large portions, dreadful.

The Stretford End was adorned by a banner snaking along its stand declaring: "Sir Alex. 25 years - The Impossible Dream Made Possible" and cards were distributed with the slogan "SAF: 25".

Ferguson divides opinion with his contrasting character traits but there is no doubt he ranks among the foremost personalities the game has known. Some neutrals may not like him but you cannot argue against the hard facts of his record.

The game set before him to celebrate his landmark did no justice to his United career and it took a present from an old friend to make the party go with anything like a swing.

History told us that Steve Bruce, who captained United to their first title under Ferguson, would be the ideal guest given his track record of no wins in his previous 17 meetings with his mentor as a manager.

And so it proved, although there was a layer of irony in the fact it was former United defender Wes Brown who ensured Ferguson started his 26th year in charge with a win as he deflected Danny Welbeck's header past goalkeeper Keiren Westwood in first-half stoppage time.

Bruce enjoyed a glass of wine with Ferguson before bemoaning his latest failure as he said: "I will probably be his age before I get a result against him.

"He didn't know a thing about the stand being named after him. I have never known anyone at Manchester United keep something secret.

"I told him maybe it showed he'd taken his finger of the pulse but it is a fitting, magnificent tribute and fully deserved."

Bruce was less charitable towards referee Lee Mason after his assistant Jake Collin indicated a late penalty when Sunderland's Ji-Dong Won rose in an aerial challenge with United captain Nemanja Vidic, only for the decision to be reversed and the South Korean penalised for handball.

It seemed then that no forces would prevent Ferguson marking his anniversary with a win - but this was a match in which United carried all the hallmarks of a team still regaining confidence after that 6-1 defeat at home to Manchester City.

It also illustrated the big move Ferguson must make to increase United's chances of adding new chapters of success to their story.

Wayne Rooney's use as a central midfield man is not quite a panic measure but it is an obvious sign of how the gap left by the retirement of Paul Scholes has not yet been addressed.

Rooney's natural ability makes him of service to Ferguson in that position but he instantly becomes more of a blunt instrument when he is reduced to chasing back towards his own corner flag as opposed to doing damage in areas where opponents can be wounded.

It smacks of Ferguson simply making-do. Rooney may eventually settle for this sort of role but surely not for a few years yet.

Ferguson must add that quality midfield man as a matter of urgency because, while Rooney's current unfamiliar role is hardly an admission of failure in the transfer market, it cannot be a serious long-term proposition.

If we believe Ferguson is not aware of this then we have not learned the lessons of the last 25 years.

Unlike the announcement of the new Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, this is something he will already have on his radar.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    2. You are not going to get an important decision going your way at Old Trafford, unless you're the home side.

    Why did Evans get Red carded? than?

  • Comment number 3.

    greatest manager,dead or alive.

  • Comment number 4.

    11 man Sunderland undone by 13 man united


    whats new?

  • Comment number 5.

    Well Phil, another blog, another chance for a disgruntled football fan to "write everything in quotation marks", complain about your "style of writing", complain about your obvious favoritism towards the "big four", and to have a go at you for the fact that you didn't write a blog about Everton, or Kettering Town FC.

  • Comment number 6.

    @soul patch,you mean the penalty that never was.people like you dont appreciate greatnes,i doubt you wil get there..stupid comment from a bitter

  • Comment number 7.

    2. At 09:46 6th Nov 2011, krissh123 wrote:

    Why did Evans get Red carded? than?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Even Clattenburg couldn't let that one go.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    So teachnically your statement is false

    2. You are not going to get an important decision going your way at Old Trafford, unless you're the home side. -? am i correct?

  • Comment number 10.

    1. At 09:42 6th nov. 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    whether you are correct or incorrect what you wrote is very pathetic given the anniversary. said by NOT a MU fan.

  • Comment number 11.

    6. At 09:51 6th Nov 2011, blooded mancunian wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It was a definite penalty - the footage doesn't lie.

    I had to laugh when I heard that Sunderland were awarded a penalty, only for the decision to be ''overturned'' and a free-kick awarded to United. Only at Old Trafford!

  • Comment number 12.

    9. At 09:53 6th Nov 2011, krissh123 wrote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Technically, if you take a literal interpretation of my statement, then yes.

    However, my comment was intended to be hyperbolic.

  • Comment number 13.

    such was the quality of football on display the whole blog is devoted to pander to the celebrity minded culture of Surrey and now Asia.

  • Comment number 14.

    any chance of a blog about united, alex or rooney?

  • Comment number 15.

    The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa: Why are you going on about the penalty that never was?

    On another note, congratulations Sir Alex Ferguson for 25 years of success and building Man United. SAF Stand well-deserved and truly monumental and touching gesture.

  • Comment number 16.

    my god how pathetic are some people, first even sunderland accepted it was the right decision that it was NOT a penalty, they were just upset it was awarded and then denied but the right decision was reached. Secondly I have no time for Utd either but any manager that can survive 25 months, let alone years deserve an honour these days. Are you suggesting McNulty and other journalists should have ignored the anniversary? PS i was at one of the early games after Fergie arrived, at Plough Lane, it was clear then just how much work he had to do.

  • Comment number 17.

    The BBC's coverage of Ferguson's 25th year at Man U has been embarrassingly over the top. The sports pages have been dominated with this arbitrary year of Ferguson's reign, the sycophantic nature of the praise showered on Fergie by the BBC makes my skin crawl. The BBC does realise that Ferguson detests them, don't they? So why are they sucking up to him so much? Is it a 'thank you' for ending his boycott? As a license fee payer I'm disgusted at the constant coverage of this man's tenure at Man U. Give us some real sports news, not just some brown-nosing of a man who holds the BBC in obvious contempt.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Can I just say as a Liverpool fan I cant believe the pettiness of some of these comments. SAF is one of the greatest managers of all time and has been rightly rewarded for his service.

    Yes Decisions go for them at OT but really which big clubs home ground isnt like that(oh and btw that was never a pen yesterday get a grip)

    Why dont all you bitter fans just give it a break for one weekend and congratulate a great manager for his success

  • Comment number 20.

    Re: Comments made by The Soul Patch of David Villa

    I presume this person is a very bitter Manchester City or Liverpool supporter because of the success Sir Alex Ferguson has brought to this fine football club.
    He may have had the facility of being able to spend money but are you forgetting the number of players from United's academy that didn't cost a penny. "The Class of 92" for example with Neville Brothers, Brown, Scholes, Butt, Giggs etc. A truly great manager who has the ability to turn raw talent into the greatest players not just in England but the World. Whereas Manchester City for example have a group of players with the exception of Michah Richards who don't care about their club but just want their 6 figure wage going into their bank account each week.
    Can anybody really see another manager dominating English football for 25+ years. It wont happen because Sir Alex is a genuine footballing genius

  • Comment number 21.

    18. At 10:22 6th Nov 2011, micky_moodys_hat wrote:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not a City fan, I'm not a liar and I'm not bitter. Still, to paraphrase Meatloaf: ''0 out of 3 ain't bad.''

    Are you that shocked that one of Ferguson's ''old boys'' said that it wasn't a penalty? One of the United players could have done a Harald Schumacher against a team managed by one of Ferguson's ''old boys'', and they would still say that it wasn't a foul.

  • Comment number 22.

    #18 when you say "Self generating" money, I think you mean "United happened to be top of the pile when the modern game was flooded by ridiculous amounts of TV cash which led to an inflationary process whereby the top few clubs were catapulted into a self-perpetuating untouchable financial and (thereby league) position". You do mean this, right?

  • Comment number 23.

    20. At 10:28 6th Nov 2011, Michael wrote:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm not a Liverpool or Manchester City fan, and I'm not bitter at Alex Ferguson's ''success'', because all aficionados of the beautiful game - such as myself - know that his ''success'' is tainted because of his chequebook-style management, favourable refereeing decisions and pub-standard opposition.

    As for the so-called ''class of 92'' - only Beckham, Gigga and G.Neville were decent players. Paul ''Trafford Trundler'' Scholes was only about a League 1 or League 2 standard plodder.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    oh get a grip soul patch Scholes was an amazin CM I learned that the hard way when Engerlund played Scotland and Scholes ran the show.

    And anyway everyone in Scotland knew how successful SAF was gonna be after his time at Aberdeen and Man U were lucky to get him. Maybe thats the problem your just jealous he didnt manage your team

  • Comment number 26.

    Some so called football 'fans' really are pathetic to comment to try to put down the occasion. They couldn't just let it go for one day
    Fergie is one of the greatest managers ever, that is why there is so much coverage for the 25th anniversary of his reign at arguably the world's biggest club. It is big occasion, that rarely ever happens in football these days. If some people cannot put their personal dislike for the man based on his personality aside, then it's a shame.

    I would say, just ignore these people and concentrate on what this blog is about. The tribute that Manchester United gave to Sir Alex, which I have to say is amazing for any club to do.
    the football was poor, but it rarely is anything but, after emotional occasions. I do not think Manchester United need an emergency midfielder, Cleverley is more than capable, after he was injured, United have clearly struggled in central midfield.

  • Comment number 27.

    I had to laugh at some of the comments today, if you have seen the replays it was actually the Sunderland player who hand balled it. I'm not going to waste any more time on that. Sir Alex Ferguson, what an absolute legend, your teams over the years have caused so much joy and at times pain but you have lived and breathed United for 25 years. Players, coaches and executives have come and gone. The stadium has improved, our fan base has reached into the hundreds of millions. The one person who has been a constant is you, well done and you will never be forgotten in the history of United, in 70 years time when I'm an old man, I will sit my grandchildren down and tell them the great stories, the Nou Camp in 99, Moscow in 2008 and the countless stories of domestic success. The story is yet not finished and I know you will rise to the challenge and see off City and Barcelona before you finally take your players out at the Theatre of Dreams for the very last time.

  • Comment number 28.

    The Soul Patch of David Villa

    Get a grip mate and grow up.
    Manchester United do get decisions go their way at Old Trafford from time to time but there have been numerous occassions when decisions have gone aginst them. To be fair, there have been countless times when penalties have been incorrectly given to Liverpool in front of the Kop and at all other home grounds. Studies have shown that the pressure of home support influences referee's decisions.
    Also you mentioned earlier about Steve Bruce being one of fergies "old boys". Doesn't that show you something. Numerous players managed by Sir Alex have managed to make it into Premier League management. Bruce, Hughes, Robson, McCleish etc

  • Comment number 29.

    I had to laugh at some of the comments today, if you have seen the replays it was actually the Sunderland player who hand balled it. I'm not going to waste any more time on that. Sir Alex Ferguson, what an absolute legend, your teams over the years have caused so much joy and at times pain but you have lived and breathed United for 25 years. Players, coaches and executives have come and gone. The stadium has improved, our fan base has reached into the hundreds of millions. The one person who has been a constant is you, well done and you will never be forgotten in the history of United, in 70 years time when I'm an old man, I will sit my grandchildren down and tell them the great stories, the Nou Camp in 99, Moscow in 2008 and the countless stories of domestic success. The story is not yet finished and I know you will rise to the challenge and see off City and Barcelona before you finally take your players out at the Theatre of Dreams for the very last time.

  • Comment number 30.

    The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa

    Did you know that in net spend since 1992, Liverpool have spent more than us? So if anything it has been you who have tried to buy the title back.

  • Comment number 31.

    I can't believe some of the comments to this blog. SAF deserves the plaudits he is getting, it is a momentous achievement to have lasted 25 years at one club and to be so successful over the period. He is easily in the top 3 managers this country has seen.

    Yes he has spent money but he has generally bought well and remember Blackburn and Chelsea both spent a lot of money with nowhere near the success SAF has enjoyed in his time. Bitterness should be put aside and true football fans I am sure applaud his achievements.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am not a Man U fan but even I have the humility and understanding to realise that 25 years is a massive achievement and one that has been earned. Anyone suggesting that it is purely down to money or bias is clearly dillusional.

    The overturned decision was a very good one - which is often a rarity so I also found it bemusing that people are whining about that.

  • Comment number 33.

    # Net Spend 92 - 2010

    1 Chelsea £25,248,250
    2 Manchester City £24,593,850
    3 Liverpool £11,346,750
    4 Manchester United £9,128,000

  • Comment number 34.

    25. At 10:45 6th Nov 2011, Give Me A Break wrote:

    oh get a grip soul patch Scholes was an amazin CM I learned that the hard way when Engerlund played Scotland and Scholes ran the show.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Most League 1 and League 2 midfielders would ''run the show'' against Scotland. Scotland are a marginally better version of San Marino.

  • Comment number 35.

    That's average, per season, so suck on that.

  • Comment number 36.

    23.
    At 10:35 6th Nov 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:


    As for the so-called ''class of 92'' - only Beckham, Gigga and G.Neville were decent players. Paul ''Trafford Trundler'' Scholes was only about a League 1 or League 2 standard plodder.


    So the fact that players like Xavi, Zidane, Beckham, Cantona, Viera, Keane, Del Piero, Managers such as Capello, Wenger, Guardiola, Mourinho all rate Scholes as one of the best players of the past 20 years doesn't mean anything to you? Seriously all your comments smack of a bitter person who has so clue about football. Chequebook style management? Well he's bought players yes, but also brought plenty of players through as well - Welbeck, Cleverley, Evans some of the new group coming through. Every club spends to improve - look at Spurs, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Blackburn bought the title in 95, but couldn't compete afterwards.

    You want a definitive answer as to why your statements about chequebook management is wrong : http://www.transferleague.co.uk/league-tables/2006-2011.html in which Man Utd have won 4 Premier League titles, 2 League cups, and the Champions league (and 2 further finals).

    You sir are just plain wrong.

  • Comment number 37.

    And England are a marginally better team than Scotland your point is

  • Comment number 38.

    I think everyone should just ignore this David Villa fool, he's just here to ruin the article about Sir Alex. Don't allow him to hijack this blog.

  • Comment number 39.

    STOP STOP STOP

    Mr Villa must be peeing himself at the bites he is getting. Dont give the clown the satisfaction (and yes I bit too I know). You're not Ted Knott from Droylsdon by the way are you Mr V

  • Comment number 40.

    @23 Paul ''Trafford Trundler'' Scholes was only about a League 1 or League 2 standard plodder

    Made me chuckle this - maybe his tackling belonged in the NFL but other than that he was awesome.

    As is SAF. Congrats, even though I still have a hump about Pizzagate.

  • Comment number 41.

    All this blog has done is let me see how truely bitter football fans are!

  • Comment number 42.

    @soul_patch

    It must be a long day for you when all you've got to do is troll a football blog.


    Regarding Scholes, sure, he's ginger, but if bring him through was the only thing SAF achieved I'd still register his reign a success. And I'm an Arsenal fan!

  • Comment number 43.

    I keep forgetting Soul Patch, are you a Barca or Real fan? You seem to switch allegiance almost every week like a typical glory hunter. I'd be surprised if you even know what the word 'aficionado' means (although you did spell it right so well done on that)

    Why bother commenting on a subject you clearly know nothing about and where no one cares about your opinion?

    Anyway, on to the actual blog. I was gutted to miss the game, but totally agree that i cannot think of a higher honour that could've been bestowed by the club than re-naming the North Stand. The Sir Alex Ferguson Stand has a great ring to it. A fitting gesture to a man whom every true aficionado of football would agree is one of the greatest managers in history.

    Any chance of another 25 years fergie? Please?

  • Comment number 44.

    I don't support anybody in the premier league even though I follow the league very closely. What Sir Alex Ferguson has done and achieved in his time is magnificent. Any football fan whatever team he supports in England or abroad should note that what SAF has done will never happen again anywhere.

    I have a feeling managers from all over the world will give SAF a phone call to congratulate him. Even the special one

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm surprised that Ferguson didn't march through the guard of honour with a chequebook in his hand - the chequebook, after all, along with 25 years of favourable officiating and sub-standard opposition, is the main reasons he's enjoyed so much ''success''.

    Still, at least 3 of my pre-match contentions were proved correct:

    1. Visiting teams keel over and let their tummies be tickled at Old Trafford, even before a ball has been kicked.

    2. You are not going to get an important decision going your way at Old Trafford, unless you're the home side.

    3. Sunderland are a pub team.
    --------------
    It must say a lot about your beloved Real Madrid if their current manager was comprehensively beaten by a pub manager from a pub standard league in European competition(Inter Milan, 2009). As for whipping out the chequebook, Madrid are the ones who have spent 200m+ and yet can't win a league or even go as far as a pub standard United in Europe, instead crashing out to the giants of Lyon. Unlike Barca, at least United aren't running loss after loss and building up an unsustainable debt due to their ridiculous transfer spending(seriously, how much of a mug is Guardiola for thinking Ibramovitch is worth Etoo+40m), despite going through its most successful period and having a skewed TV deal in its favour. At least unlike the mugs at Real Madrid, United didn't sell a world class DM and fire their best coach because the owner felt he wasn't flashy enough or sell its training ground to the government who bought it at an inflated price because they were running losses(despite the shirt sales of star players and skewed TV deals). At least Arsenal, unlike Valencia, aren't having to sell their players just to pay for a new stadium in a bid to break even. It must say a lot about the "almighty" La Liga if only 1 Spanish team has been in a European final in 5 years while England have had 3, and the pub standard league is ranked number one in UEFA coefficients.

  • Comment number 46.

    English FA and English football fanatics should really be proud of this fella; though a Scot, he's still OUR JOCK, innit ??

    25 blooming years, eh !. . .it will stand as a testimony to a great and a successful manager whose achievement will remain unparallelled in the fields of world class football management. Thank you, SIR ALEX FERGUSON !! We salute you, Sir !!

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    Deserves every plaudit he should get, and then some. Fantastic manager who will just keep going and just keep winning.

  • Comment number 49.

    @ NITI123ESH - WELL SAID LAD!!

  • Comment number 50.

    The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa,

    you are a well fed troll, hopefully this comment will be the after dinner coffee. I'm not sure I wan't to see anymore mindless bitter comments.

    I don't think a single professional football pundit would ever agree with you on this matter

    "pub-standard opposition" are you referring to the premier league or 5th round Carling Cup ties. (rhetorical)

  • Comment number 51.

    The deep rooted hatred displayed by SoulPatch is frightening
    Does he live to hate? Is he ready to be sectioned?
    My beloved Utd pay tribute to a bloke approaching 70 who still puts in a full days work..and the bitterness levels go off the scale. It speaks volumes to we Reds when a Liverpool fan praises the man..yet Soulpatch and Charade see their backside!
    Tell you what lads..whatever you do and wherever you work..when you're in the shadow of your retirement and the firm daft enough to employ you names the canteen after you..we will all turn up and give you a round of applause also. After all...you must be on the verge of greatness in your selected field of expertise! How else can you deride SAF? No doubt in another era you would have decried the efforts of Cloughie. Or Jock Stein. Anyone who was a level above the norm.
    Accept the occasion.
    If you want to improve on SAF achievements..fell free to do so. Apply to any club who have a vacancy. Go on lads. He who dares and all that. Prove to us all that you can/will do better. Go on lads!

  • Comment number 52.

    33.
    At 11:02 6th Nov 2011, united4evra wrote:

    Are you sure mate? Here is the actual net spend, what you had was the net spend per season.

    1. Chelsea - £504,965,00
    2. Man City - £491,877,000
    3. Liverpool - £226,935,000
    4. Man United - £185,560,000
    5. Tottenham - £178,332,500
    15. Arsenal - £21,216,000

  • Comment number 53.

    Micky Moodys Hat.
    Aaah..good old Ted Knott...who even the bitters ignore.
    I remember him venting his spleen in the Pink in the mid 70's. 35+yrs on and still he has a hatred of all things Red.
    Long may it continue!

  • Comment number 54.

    I really wish he would stop chewing gum! It looks terrible especially on camera close-up. PLEASE tell him to stop chewing gum!

  • Comment number 55.

    Wrigley's Extra Ice is, and I quote, "The Official CHewing Gum of the Barclays Premier League"

  • Comment number 56.

    Soul patch has more loyalty to Spanish football than any team of this side of the Channel. The fact is, a lot of continental fans see us Brits as cavemen and though I suspect Soul Patch is himself British he seems to have brought into that.

    Why the like likes of him troll around acting like a Goa'uld emmissary "kneel before your God La Liga". I admit I used to troll back when I was a teen in the late 90s but never to this extent.

    The laugh is, watching Spain as an opposition fan is depressing enough without him gloating about Spanish superiority, both real and perceived all the time.

  • Comment number 57.

    You have to have financial backing to win trophies in modern football, I don't really see the argument there. True if Sir Alex was manager of West Brom, he wouldn't be winning everything in sight but success is ALWAYS relative.

    Ferguson's stellar record CANNOT be argued with. The financial backing gives you the opportunity for sustained success but the manager still has to buy the right players and run the show correctly! Ferguson has done that with real drive and clarity of thought.

    If you are a Manchester United fan, you will quite rightly adore Ferguson. If you support anyone else, you should have a grudging respect for what the man has achieved. Its better to be lucky than good, but Ferguson has both attributes in abundance.

    One day in the not too distant future, Sir Alex Ferguson will walk away from football and United will suffer because of it. Replacing Busby was difficult, replacing Ferguson will be all but impossible. Love him or loathe him, he has earned the respect of everyone in the game.

    Will he be able to see off a new challenge from his nearest rivals? I have my doubts. As a lifelong Man City fan myself, I hope we make the rest of Fergie's tenure extremely difficult! I don't think Sir Alex saw such a strong challenge coming from Eastland's while he was still working. It will be very interesting.

    Ferguson's place in the history of football is assured. Anyone who tries to question his achievements is being ridiculous. He has been fortunate, something he admits himself! But there is only one real measurement of a football manager, his trophy cabinet. Most can keep their medals in a sock draw. Fergie probably needs another house for his.......

  • Comment number 58.

    Second paragraph should read: Why the like likes of him troll around acting like a Goa'uld emmissary "kneel before your God La Liga" I don't know. I admit I used to troll back when I was a teen in the late 90s but never to this extent.

  • Comment number 59.

    Are you sure mate? Here is the actual net spend, what you had was the net spend per season.

    1. Chelsea - £504,965,00
    2. Man City - £491,877,000
    3. Liverpool - £226,935,000
    4. Man United - £185,560,000
    5. Tottenham - £178,332,500
    15. Arsenal - £21,216,000

    ----------------------------

    Yeah I put that in a comment below the original one. You are right. Either way it proves these idiots wrong.

  • Comment number 60.

    1.At 09:42 6th Nov 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:
    I'm surprised that Ferguson didn't march through the guard of honour with a chequebook in his hand - the chequebook, after all, along with 25 years of favourable officiating and sub-standard opposition, is the main reasons he's enjoyed so much ''success''.

    Still, at least 3 of my pre-match contentions were proved correct:

    1. Visiting teams keel over and let their tummies be tickled at Old Trafford, even before a ball has been kicked.

    2. You are not going to get an important decision going your way at Old Trafford, unless you're the home side.

    3. Sunderland are a pub team.

    -------------------
    have to agree with alot of what u've said!!


    and this net spend is silly, fergy when he 1st arrived at man utd spent heavily broke transfer records on many occasions

    in 2001-2002nfergy spent

    veron 28.1mill
    ferdy 29.1mill
    and consider the year/s 2001 and 2002 no english club spent money on individual players!!! in fact its only 8-10 yrs later that english clubs and still only a few have spent such vast sums on players! yet man utd and fergy were a decade ago!!! havent even mentioned rooney!!! and nisterooy who were 30mill and nearly 20mill .
    man utd were spending hugely on players yrs before anyone else (titles and cups were brought)

    so please stop with net spends

  • Comment number 61.

    SAF is a tyrant of the worst kind and occasionally shows his true colours - for example when he ordered the reporter that had the audacity to question him in the wrong manner be omitted from future press conferences.

    His attempted tarnishing of Suarez is another prime case.

    He's a nasty piece of work.

  • Comment number 62.

    43. At 11:26 6th Nov 2011, govmeister wrote:

    I keep forgetting Soul Patch, are you a Barca or Real fan?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I support neither of them, but I'm a huge admirer of both.

    I've just been watching an awesome first-half display from the best side in the world, at the moment, against Osasuna.

    CR9 on fire, Özil pulling all the strings in midfield, and Coentrão confirming - as if confirmation was needed - that he's the best left0back in world football.

    Brilliant stuff.

  • Comment number 63.

    # 20 - "the class of '92" - was man u Rydell High back then?

    Every ex man yoo player keels over for bacon face, its a known fact - and wes brown helped that yesterday.

    And what is it with the bbc loving all things alex at the minute since he ended his boycott - its so fickle.

    I laughed at the "sir alex ferguson stand" - what next? "the howard webb conference room", "the mike riley had 45k of shares in man u in 1998 statue"? "the 2 european cups in 25 years tribute corner"

    wha ha ha. 1-6

  • Comment number 64.

    It's been well established by research that people who spend a huge amount of their time on blog's, attempting to be controversial or contributing irrational comments are 'attention seekers' who are lacking something in their personalities. The easiest way to make them go away is to ignore them.....above all else they can't take that.

    I therefore suggest that people take this advice regarding the resident troll on these blogs.

    Good though to see many other fans on here being magnaminous!

    The final piece of Phil's blog, though, is the most important to my mind. Fergie hasn't njust realised that there's a problem in central midfield. It's been glaringly obvious for 2 seasons now and it was inconceivable to me that he didn't sign at least one quality CM this summer. I've no idea what he was thinking because Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson and the aging legend that is Giiggs are not it and to expect Cleverly to carry the midfield this season is both ludicrous and unfair.

    Utd have some great young midfield talent coming through the youths (Pogba, Tunicliffe, Morrison) but it's a season or so to early form them and Utd won't win anything this season with what they have in CM.

    I pray that the great man can prove me wrong, yet again, but I really don't see it. Recent performances have been last season all over again and I don't think we'll get away with itl this time.

  • Comment number 65.

    I would also like to point out that ''The_Soul_Patch_Of_David_Silva'' is another imitator, so please don't confuse any points he may make with those which are expressed by me.

  • Comment number 66.

    to sum up

    man utd payed 20-30 mill on players in a time when other clubs couldnt even spend that much on 6 players in total

  • Comment number 67.

    63. At 11:54 6th Nov 2011, Wavertreenook wrote:

    And what is it with the bbc loving all things alex at the minute since he ended his boycott - its so fickle.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Apparently, Alex ''chequebook'' Ferguson only agreed to talk to the BBC after a meeting between himself and representatives of the BBC.

    You can bet your bottom dollar that Alex would have outlined a set of ''conditions'' which the BBC must abide by, or else he will stop talking to them again.

  • Comment number 68.

    the point about the change of mind is how it came about, as usual the mouths of united surround and harass an official, this was of course supposed to be being eradicated.

    respect in the game is not included on fergusons to do list, as a result i see no reason why I should join any tributes paid to this loathsome individual

    and as for the guard on honour, whilst it looked very lame there were some very notable absentees who were unfortunately not able to attend due to officiating in other matches.

  • Comment number 69.

    I was considering recently how these big managers would fare if they were to suddenly be dropped into a smaller club, e.g. West Brom. I have doubts about many of them, but I think SAF would make them a top team, given the time he's had at Old Trafford.

  • Comment number 70.

    I support neither of them, but I'm a huge admirer of both.

    I've just been watching an awesome first-half display from the best side in the world, at the moment, against Osasuna.

    CR9 on fire, Özil pulling all the strings in midfield, and Coentrão confirming - as if confirmation was needed - that he's the best left0back in world football.


    Brilliant stuff.

    -------------
    Best side in the world? Surely the "best side in the world" could at least make it to a European final after spending 200m+?

  • Comment number 71.

    I think you'll find that Barca are MUCH better than Real Madrid. Funny that.

  • Comment number 72.

    have to agree with alot of what u've said!!


    and this net spend is silly, fergy when he 1st arrived at man utd spent heavily broke transfer records on many occasions

    in 2001-2002nfergy spent

    veron 28.1mill
    ferdy 29.1mill
    and consider the year/s 2001 and 2002 no english club spent money on individual players!!! in fact its only 8-10 yrs later that english clubs and still only a few have spent such vast sums on players! yet man utd and fergy were a decade ago!!! havent even mentioned rooney!!! and nisterooy who were 30mill and nearly 20mill .
    man utd were spending hugely on players yrs before anyone else (titles and cups were brought)

    so please stop with net spends

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The net spend argument comes when people claim we have bought the title. Well if that is the case then Liverpool and Chelsea have also tried to buy the title. Unluckily for them we have still been more successful, even though they have both spent more. Also you have to remember that money we spent was money we generated through our own success and we have always been careful financially. It is no accident that we continue to be always one of the top richest teams in the world. Man City might have more cash available from their sugar daddies but they aren't self sufficient yet and they have problems selling players once they sign them on these huge contracts. United will continue to be up there for the foreseeable future because we have a sound business model, i.e we spend only what we can afford. Arsenal also have a great model, Chelsea and City, NOT SO MUCH.

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    and this net spend is silly, fergy when he 1st arrived at man utd spent heavily broke transfer records on many occasions

    in 2001-2002nfergy spent

    veron 28.1mill
    ferdy 29.1mill
    and consider the year/s 2001 and 2002 no english club spent money on individual players!!! in fact its only 8-10 yrs later that english clubs and still only a few have spent such vast sums on players! yet man utd and fergy were a decade ago!!! havent even mentioned rooney!!! and nisterooy who were 30mill and nearly 20mill .
    man utd were spending hugely on players yrs before anyone else (titles and cups were brought)

    so please stop with net spends
    -----------------
    Good morning, and welcome to Economics 101. Sometimes, through success, people gain money. These people then do something called "investment", i.e. they expand their business by strengthening in key areas, either by looking for cheap buys or paying top dollar where it is needed. Some of these people end up spending all their money without a long term plan(such as Real Madrid) and then have to sell their assets(such as training grounds) or go bust. Others spend big when necessary but also continue to look for cheap buys, but do so within their own means instead of borrowing too much, thus continuing their success and improving their business, all the time making more money they can further invest to expand(Man United). Along the way, some start complaining about how this spending of your own money isn't "fair" or come out with various explanations(or conspiracy theories). These allegations and complaints arise out of an emotion called "envy".

  • Comment number 75.

    This could have been a good read but for the lack of proof reading it before posting it! I really cannot understand how lax the BBC is nowadays. For a one time superpower in the media world it is a sad day when their chief sports writer cannot spell the word "off". Pathetic really!

    With regards to Air Alex it is a tremendous achievement and a great gesture by the club to honour him in such a way. As an Ipswich fan it was a proud moment when the North Stand at Portman Road was renamed The Sir Bobby Robson Stand. To have achieved what he did for our club is similar in respect to the size of club that Ipswich Town is compared Manchester United.

  • Comment number 76.

    Being able to honour Sir Alex in this manner while he is still at the club is a special thing and testament to the fact that continuity is so important in building a future at a club. He should be someone to take example from and yet there are still so many clubs that change managers quicker than I change my pants! The youth development is also an area that Manchester United are so much better than most and it's reported that Sir Alex gets involved in that too.

    If ever there was a manager to look upto and try to emulate it's Sir Alex. Love him or loathe him, one must respect him.

  • Comment number 77.

    It's "When", not "If", regarding your comment about flopping at Euro 2012. You'll get torn apart by Spain but might sneak a win against the other team you're playing.

  • Comment number 78.

    barca500 - as a man city fan thats true respecto i take my hat off 2u!

  • Comment number 79.

    FAO Mr McNulty/Moderators

    Any chance you can get someone to stop The_Soul_Patch_Of_David_Silva spamming these blogs yet?

    Surely there's enough interest in them without allowing that poster to make the same daft comments over and over again on every football blog this website puts up?

    As we can see in this one he has opened the comments section, so there's no pretence that it's even a response to the way the conversation has gone - he's just spamming the site, simply that.

  • Comment number 80.

    62. At 11:54 6th Nov 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    I support neither of them, but I'm a huge admirer of both.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You admire both, yet you can't see the hypocrisy in your comments about clubs/managers buying their way to success and supposed referee bias?

    The fact is every big club in every league in the world does the same thing and has the same 'bias' comment thrown at them. They buy up all of the talent from the smaller teams in their league, dominate the TV rights and soak up most/all of the sponsorship money that the league has. The accusations you throw at Fergie (i won't call them facts cuz they're not) could be thrown at Real in the Galactacos era, Milan in the 90's, Bayern in the last 20 years or so, Rangers and Celtic since pretty much forever, Chelsea in the Mourinho years, Inter in the Mourinho years, Porto in the Mourinho years, Real in the Mourinho years. Hmmm, am i sensing a pattern there?

    I'm watching the Real game as well and yes they are playing some very good football, but Osasuna are not exactly offering much in response are they. Why? Because the 2 don't play on an even playing field. This is especially true in Spain.

  • Comment number 81.

    Every ex man yoo player keels over for bacon face, its a known fact - and wes brown helped that yesterday.

    ----------
    Must say something about the management skills of the man if every player who ever plays for him is keeling over for him. Ironically enough, you have complimented Ferguson.

  • Comment number 82.

    The day was a massive anticlimax let's face it.
    What's with the stand being renamed? I thought United Road, Stretford End etc. were renamed partly to simplify things for the emergency services? I guess they were ashamed of still calling those stands those names when they'd priced out most of the people who used to go?

  • Comment number 83.

    Andy @60.
    It depends on what you do when you spend.
    The great Cloughie broke the record on Trevor Francis and won the European. Man citeh bought him later and then broke the record on Steve Daley were eventually relegated. At the same time he bought Pally,Ince and co he also played Lee Martin,Tony Gill(both succomed to injury),Russell Beardsmore and Mark Robins.
    When buying Keano,The Great Dane and Eric..he played Giggs,Hughes.
    When buying Cole,the class of 92 were coming in. Now the last of the 92 in Giggs nears the end,we have a new generation on the verge with Welbeck and Cleverley in the team and more gems from last season youth team to come

  • Comment number 84.

    I can't stand MU... but... I wish my team had been managed by Sir Alex for the last 25 years, what an amazing record the man has and its not over yet! My team on the other hand will probably sack the manager yet again after just one season and keep trying to buy success with their hundreds of £millions. I cant believe I am saying this about anything connected with Old Trafford but facts are facts and he is a manager to be admired, good for him. (Give up the gum though!)

  • Comment number 85.

    #19 Why have you stolen my name??

  • Comment number 86.

    64. At 11:56 6th Nov 2011, WordsofWisdom wrote:
    It's been well established by research that people who spend a huge amount of their time on blog's, attempting to be controversial or contributing irrational comments are 'attention seekers' who are lacking something in their personalities. The easiest way to make them go away is to ignore them.....above all else they can't take that.

    I therefore suggest that people take this advice regarding the resident troll on these blogs.

    Good though to see many other fans on here being magnaminous!

    The final piece of Phil's blog, though, is the most important to my mind. Fergie hasn't njust realised that there's a problem in central midfield. It's been glaringly obvious for 2 seasons now and it was inconceivable to me that he didn't sign at least one quality CM this summer. I've no idea what he was thinking because Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson and the aging legend that is Giiggs are not it and to expect Cleverly to carry the midfield this season is both ludicrous and unfair.

    Utd have some great young midfield talent coming through the youths (Pogba, Tunicliffe, Morrison) but it's a season or so to early form them and Utd won't win anything this season with what they have in CM.

    I pray that the great man can prove me wrong, yet again, but I really don't see it. Recent performances have been last season all over again and I don't think we'll get away with itl this time.

    -----------------------------------------

    United began the season playing superbly through midfield but it's hardly suprising that they've stuttered of late given the injuries to Cleverley and Carrick and especially to the central defenders. The big thing so far is Anderson, who has been both brilliant and dreadful and who now injury free - as suspected - seems to be proving to be the weak link imo. Fergie will no doubt be taking the long view right now with certain players. The first half of the season is all about not losing the title, and come the new year he'll intend to have Giggs in particular fresh to being his experience and magic to the show for the crunch matches as required. If he has a fit Carrick and Cleverley as well as the wide players then United will be in a very strong position - as long as they're still in contention. It'd be nice to have a right-back fit as well, obviously.

  • Comment number 87.

    yes we all know managers who spend loads genrally have success! but when calling a manager great itshould also highlight all the facts!! iffergy didnt spend massive sums at utd he wouldnt have half the success!

    and when fergy says he stopped lpool domination without atcually doing so is again reasons why there is so much anti fergy comments. liverpool had won the league title only once in 5 attempts proir to fergys first title.
    also bbc wud have u beleiving he alone stopped rangers and celtics domination of scotish footie however rangers didnt win title from 78-87 and during that peroid of time dundee utd qualified for europe 14times inc 1 final and european cup semifinal , 4 runners of of scotish cup, 2 league cup wins and another 2 runners up!!

    so dont let the bbc tellu fergy alone did well in scotland inthat peroid like sum wizard dundee utd were managered by mclean

  • Comment number 88.

    78. matthew_ollerhead

    I think most City fans have a grudging respect for Ferguson. We've had so many managers since he took over United and are only starting to succeed now having spent a fortune. We are looking for Mancini to try and copy the 'Ferguson way'.

    United have spent hugely and without that would not have won all the trophies. But as has been illustrated by all the 'net spend' stats (very dull but accurate!!!) on here, other clubs have spent more and won a lot less. Again, success is always relative.

    I just hope we can win the league while Ferguson is still in charge, it wouldn't be as sweet if we did it after he has gone.

  • Comment number 89.

    For god's sake get over him

  • Comment number 90.

    All I can say is well done to Sir Alex. All of the plaudits are well deserved and the renaming of a stand is a most fitting tribute to the most successful British manager. Long may the success continue.

    As for the game, it was unfortunate that it couldn't have been the vintage all out attacking united on display, but then who really was expecting that. Our centre midfield problems are the cause of our poor play and have been for some time, as we cannot attack down the middle. So we are forced to go out wide and with limited height up front this makes it difficult for crossing. Hopefully a midfielder of real class is brought in to address this issue.

  • Comment number 91.

    Sooooo soul patch an admirer of real madrid and loving 'CR9'...who was brought in as an unknown by ferguson to united and made into one of the best players in the world. Even Ronaldo cannot stop crediting ferguson and united for what they did for him. Thats 'cheque-book' management is it? Crazy. So hypocritical. Facts speak for themselves, your opinions mean nothing. Well done to all the guys bringing in the facts (i sound like benitez haha). As a swansea fan I got nothing but respect for SAF, absolute legend and United is a great club.

  • Comment number 92.

    soul_patch, I think you should know it's CR7 not CR9! Not that you have any anyway, but your credibility is now blown completely.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    79. At 12:11 6th Nov 2011, TheTrawler wrote:
    FAO Mr McNulty/Moderators

    Any chance you can get someone to stop The_Soul_Patch_Of_David_Silva spamming these blogs yet?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I bet you're one of those people who whinge about supposed ''theatrics'' in La Liga, yet you've just done the equivalent of waving an imaginary card.

    Poor show.

    Just because I don't voraciously drink the Sky Sports propaganda milk, like a faithful Basset Hound, is no cause to ban me.

    As long as I stay within the House Rules, then I have just as much right to comment on these boards as anyone else.

    FYI, my one and only username on here is ''The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa'' - don't be fooled by those who use imitations of my moniker.

  • Comment number 95.

    cr9 was originally valid when he first went to madrid, as, ironically enough, that was his shirt number before raul left

  • Comment number 96.

    A few facts about penalties:

    http://stretfordenders.net/statistical-analysis-do-united-get-all-the-penalties/

    A few facts about money:

    http://www.transferleague.co.uk/

    A lot of green eyed monsters who will never appreciate what this guy has done for football, fellow managers and the premier league.

  • Comment number 97.

    this Blog like the others before it are to appease and feed the celebrity culture of Surrey.

    i do have some sympathy for genuine supporters of united who have seen their clubs good name and some past achievements reduced to nothing more than a side show, catering for the facebook and twitter mentality.

  • Comment number 98.

    92. At 12:49 6th Nov 2011, Give Me A Break! wrote:

    soul_patch, I think you should know it's CR7 not CR9! Not that you have any anyway, but your credibility is now blown completely.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    He was CR7 when he played in the Pubmiership, but he's been known as CR9 since he stepped up to the big-time.

  • Comment number 99.

    @ Andy

    So Dundee came runners up in a lot of things. Second best doesn't count. At Aberdeen Fergie WON: the SPL 3 times, Scottish Cup 4 times, League Cup, Uefa cup winners cup and UEFA super cup. Which is considerably better than Dundee's record.

  • Comment number 100.

    97. At 12:54 6th Nov 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    i do have some sympathy for genuine supporters of united
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I have sympathy for both of them, as well.

 

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