The time is near for the world of football to wave goodbye to one of its most successful employees as the hardest job in football becomes available: succeeding Ferguson.
As Sir Alex Ferguson prepares to celebrate his 71st birthday on New Years Eve, questions about his future at Old Trafford have once again risen. But the question is not whether this will be Ferguson’s last season in charge of Manchester United—it is more along the lines of: Who will replace the Scottish veteran?
It’s easy enough for any football fan to give their opinion on this matter and produce a list of top names that are capable of replacing Ferguson. But, realistically, is there anyone who can create a dressing-room atmosphere and a team cohesion like The Scot, while also maintaining that daunting effect that United have when they come face-to-face with Europe’s top teams?
Is there anyone who can match the success of Ferguson’s 26-year reign that has seen him win 37 trophies in the process? As far as I can see it, there are only three men capable of taking the hot seat at the Theatre of Dreams.
The Portuguese manager is an obvious candidate who has been continuously linked with a move to Old Trafford ever since he parted ways with his beloved Chelsea.
Speculation has been circling for a while that Jose will leave Real Madrid at the end of the season, after numerous reports of player bust-ups have led to a run of poor results for the Spanish giants.
Jose is a renowned genius when it comes to his managerial skills and coaching ability. Just look at his previous records. He is most certainly one man who can continue United’s success and build relationships with players that Ferguson himself would be proud of.
However, there are some who think otherwise and question the former Porto manager’s club loyalties. For example, this Express article, which is voiced by a close friend of Ferguson’s: “Fergie admires Jose greatly but there are concerns that Jose’s manner and media links could make him become bigger than the club.”
It’s also interesting to hear what ‘The Special One’ has to say on the possible retirement of Fergie, from ibtimes: "His succession isn't near. It should be in 10 years or so. He is getting better and better. He is stronger all the time. Why should he retire?"
Sources like The Mirror have proposed the question of whether not Fergie and the former Barcelona have met or are planning to.
The rumors have sparked rigorous talk that not only will Guardiola succeed Ferguson, but that The Scot is running the operation of choosing United’s next manager.
Guardiola’s record at the Catalonian giants was remarkable, to say the least. In his four seasons at the helm, he structured a formidable side that achieved 14 honors, including four La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies.
Bearing in mind, he overcame the challenge of Sir Alex twice on the way to both his Champions League victories.
The Spaniard is—in my opinion—United’s and Ferguson’s first choice to lead Manchester United into its new era of life without Sir Alex. However, it is his lack of Premier League experience that remains the only mark on his CV and may discourage United’s decision to appoint the 41-year-old.
Before people start to get on their high horses and discard Moyes as a possible successor at Old Trafford, you have to remember that this is the Premier League’s third-longest-serving manager, who has won the LMA Manager of the Year award three times.
He has also guided his hardworking Everton squad into Europe four times in the past seven seasons, while his lowest league position in the past five seasons has been eighth.
Moyes has also proven to many that he can run a well-oiled team and challenge for a top-four spot year-in, year-out on a limited budget. As well as this, he has tremendous experience in bringing through youth players—turn your attention to 16-year-old Wayne Rooney.
His 10 years in the Premier League has given him tremendous experience with how the English game works, from handling the media to forming a solid tactical performance against the league's top teams.
But, his lack in English silverware may prove to be a negative factor.
It’s clear that Fergie is also a big fan of his fellow Scot, as an article in the Express unveiled: “Moyes and Fergie are close and Fergie begrudgingly admires how Moyes has ‘outfoxed’ him and many other teams over the years.”
There’s no denying it—it will be a sad day when we eventually say farewell to Sir Alex Ferguson. But it will also be an exciting occasion, to thank a man who has done wonders for the game of football and to see who will be his eventual successor.