Tag Archive: Sir Alex Ferguson

The Premier League season begins tomorrow, but there will be no Sir Alex Ferguson in sight. Perhaps some journalists, pundits, and fans will be reminded of the late comic, Spike Milligan, who used to end many of his comedy sketches by staring at the camera and asking: “What are we going to do now?”

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Fergie may be gone, but the Premier League juggernaut continues, and it appears that the race for the 2013/14 title will be between three clubs: Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

United are used to approaching the season under intense scrutiny, but this this time the pressure is different, for other clubs will see the Red Devils as a kingdom without a strong leader.

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Ben Watson's 90th minute header confirmed the biggest headline in football this week (Image | The Sun)

Ben Watson’s 90th minute header confirmed the biggest headline in football this week (Image | The Sun)

Last week may have seen the first significant news of the football off-season, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Following the retirement of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson, and David Moyes’ arrival at Old Trafford as his successor, there has been plenty more big news in the past seven days.

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When the rumours about Sir Alex Ferguson retiring first surfaced on Twitter late on Tuesday evening, sparked by Daily Telegraph journalist Mark Ogden, I was sceptical.

CAPTION | Words. (Image | The Guardian)

End of an era | Some commentators have dubbed Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement the “fall of the footballing Berlin Wall”. (Image | The Guardian)

After all, Ferguson had planned to retire back in 2001, only to recant. The venerable Scot was such a fixture in British football that the thought of him no longer prowling the Old Trafford touchline, while incessantly chomping on a stick of chewing gum, seemed a too absurd a prospect to countenance.

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Chelsea Football Club took the decision on Wednesday to remove manager Roberto Di Matteo from his post after eight months in charge, a period in which the Blues won the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history.

Dismissed | Roberto Di Matteo in appropriate pose after his side’s run of two wins from eight games, which brought about his departure from Stamford Bridge. (Image | Blue Champions)

Having made a strong start to the season and recruited exciting new players such as Oscar, Victor Moses and Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s form dipped over the past few weeks and following the 3-0 defeat to Juventus in midweek, the club now stands on the brink of becoming the first European Cup winners to be knocked out of the competition at the group stages the following year.

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Sergio Aguero fires past Paddy Kenny to secure Manchester City‘s first title in 44 years. (Image | The Guardian)

The ultimate round of matches of the 2011-2012 Premier League season had more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. In this vein, footballing clichés were wheeled out by the bucket load. At Manchester City, it really was a game of two halves, as the league leaders thoroughly pummelled the Queens Park Rangers defence, peppering shots at Paddy Kenny and any other body the R’s could get in the way. 44 of them, in fact. With Manchester United maintaining a 1-0 lead over Sunderland for the majority of the game at the Stadium of Light, all eyes were on the Etihad Stadium. Pablo Zabaleta set the Citizens on their way just before half-time, at almost exactly the same point as Bolton Wanderers completed their turnaround against Stoke City to take a 2-1 lead. QPR were relegated, Bolton were staying up, and City had a hand on the trophy. Surely this would be it from Mark Hughes’ ultra-defensive side?

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One has to wonder whether Diego, or any of his team mates, would accept English clubs’ blanket assertion that the Europa League is not an important part of modern football. (Image | Bleacher Report)

Atlético Madrid won the Europa League last night, thanks primarily to a concerted display of attacking football from Radamel Falcao. The Colombian hit man has netted 12 times in the competition this season, and this impressive strike rate will likely see England’s big guns make a move for the 26-year-old in the summer. Still, if you asked Harry Redknapp, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Roberto Mancini or any other manager from the footballing “elite” of this country, they would tell you that the Europa League is a worthless competition. Some may even go so far as to suggest that it ought to be abolished, because it simply “doesn’t matter.” Tell that to the Spanish. And the Portuguese.

The disdain for the Europa League in England is typical of the haughty, arrogant manner in which we judge the various merits and weaknesses of our own competition, which disgracefully extends to the Premier League and nothing else, and that of the rest of Europe. Are we missing something here? The answer is yes. Far from being some sort of mickey-mouse, two bit little tournament, the Europa League is the second most prestigious pan-European competition.

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It has been a tricky start to 2012 for Manchester United. The jaw-dropping, last-gasp defeat at home to bottom-feeders Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve – Sir Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday, of all days – was followed up with a thoroughly disheartening loss at the hands of a more confident, more creative and more entertaining Newcastle United. On top of that, the club has had to publicly refute reports – again – that talismanic striker Wayne Rooney is on his way out of the club after more rumours of a breakdown in his relationship with Ferguson.

Paul Scholes’ return could be exactly what Fergie’s side need.

The response from United was not unusual – make a big-name signing to cover over some of the cracks. The team has lacked a central midfielder ever since legendary pass master Paul Scholes retired in the summer and was not replaced. So, finally, Ferguson and David Gill have made the move they needed to make and signed a central midfielder.

Paul Scholes.

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