Silverware Jubilee - The Man Of All Seasons


He came in a grey suit, face flushed, and with a reputation for taking no prisoners or no-nonsense approach. Here was a man bred on the raw streets of Govan, who'd clawed his way up to play for Glasgow Rangers, then broken the Old Firm monopoly with Aberdeen as a manager.

He's an obstinate, volatile dictator, and he'll be shooting them down until his very last breath. But at the same time he's a nurturing, romantic old fool with a wicked sense of humour, whose unfailing passion for the game has made him an institution. Love him of loathe him, English football just wouldn't be the same without him.

A manager who knocked Liverpool off their perch, tipped Kevin Keegan over the edge, out-gunned Arsene Wenger and stood up to Roman Abramovich's empire. The manager who signed Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and played alchemist with a group of young players who went on to deliver unprecedented success to the manager who trusted them.

Consider the achievements of a certain footballing superpower. There are 12 English league titles, six behind Liverpool and only one adrift of Arsenal; two European Cups, as many as Juventus and Benfica and more than every French club combined; five FA Cups, almost as many as Liverpool and Chelsea, and four League Cups, equalling the total of Arsenal and Manchester City if they pooled their victories.

This, it might be concluded, is a particularly distinguished and decorated club. Except, of course, but this is not a club but the personal haul of Sir Alex Ferguson. Insert him in the roll of honour and, without even including his feats in Scotland, he would figure higher than many a historic force, including the pre-Ferguson Manchester United. Whereas others have had a century and more to accumulate their honours, his have come in 25 years. His greatness both cemented and coated in silverware.

Ferguson has taken Manchester United to a record 19 titles, but his teams have twice been eclipsed by the brilliance of FC Barcelona in Europe. The man himself is humble enough to accept the gulf in class that separated Xavi Hernandez, Lionel Messi and company from his 2009 and 2011 editions. As he approaches his 25th anniversary or quarter-century at Old Trafford, Ferguson burns to redress the balance, and you wouldn't put it past him.







Video: Courtesy of Telegraph UK and ESPN

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