Sir Alex Ferguson, the world’s most successful football manager has ruled out any chance of a return to management to rescue his former club from sinking out of sight in the Champions League and the Premier League title race.
He has also revealed an amazing fact that Roman Abramovich actually asked him first to manage Chelsea when he took over in 2003, but he refused the offer.
Those of us who are long enough in the tooth to have been around when Manchester United last had such a managerial upheaval will instantly recognize the similarities between then and now.
I started watching United as an 8 year old in 1958, the year of the Munich disaster. I had the privilege of watching Duncan Edwards playing at Old Trafford before he was tragically cut short in the Munich horror. I was also privileged to have watched United win the 1968 European Cup, the forerunner to the present Champions league. Unfortunately, I also witnessed the decline of the club due to the lack of foresight when Sir Matt Busby retired and then had to return disastrously two years later.
United had an ageing team when they won the 1968 Cup and it had probably been Busby`s intention to apply some radical surgery, however, the win changed all that and he decided to call it a day whilst at the top. No one can blame him for that, but the club simply were not prepared for the trauma which followed and the club declined over the years, despite a brief attempt by Sir Matt to return and rescue the club. From 1970 onwards, the club descended into oblivion and in 1975 came the ultimate humiliation with relegation to the second tier. What followed was a long road to redemption which was only finally complete when Sir Alex Ferguson finally managed to win his first premier League title in 1993.
Of course we have seen this again since, with Liverpool following the very same footsteps, albeit without the relegation; a point which was not lost on BBC pundit Alan Hansen, who was the captain of Liverpool the last time they won the old Division 1 title in 1990. Liverpool could not adapt as the game changed and fell into decline. They have never fully recovered.
David Moyes has taken over the hot seat at Old Trafford with a glowing report from his mentor ringing in his ears, but it has been a baptism of fire, not helped by a fixture list which pitched United against the top clubs in his first five matches.
Needless to say, the media have been quick to jump on the bandwagon and every slip has been paraphrased by hysterical headlines and wild assertions in keeping with our illustrious media here in the UK.
Sir Alex has made it clear today that he will not be returning to management under any circumstances. Furthermore he has reiterated that Moyes is the best man for the job and will be OK. No doubt this headline will raise its head every time there is s set back, but Moyes has seen all this before at Everton and I fully expect him to come through this intact.
In another interesting revelation, Sir Alex has told reporters that Roman Abramovich used an agent to try and get him to Stamford Bridge why he bought the club in 2003. Needless to say Sir Alex turned it down flat, saying, “why would I want to leave for that”.