Imagining the Premier League If Alex Ferguson Hadn't Joined Manchester United
Ferguson became Manchester United manager way back in November 1986, nearly 27 years before he would eventually retire.
There’s no doubt that United hiring Ferguson changed the English football landscape forever.
So we’re asking, what would the Premier League be like if Sir Alex never became Manchester United manager?
Sir Ron Atkinson: Manchester United’s Greatest Ever Manager
If the Manchester United board didn’t have a young manager from Scotland lined up—namely Alex Ferguson, who had won the league with Aberdeen—they could have very well have stuck with their incumbent manager, Big Ron Atkinson.
Or Sir Ron Atkinson, as he would become due to the success he would bring United. Or Sir Big Ron Atkinson, if you prefer.
He would go on to be known as Manchester United’s greatest ever manager. Hauling in three league cups, two FA Cups and Manchester United finishing in the top three every season from 1991 to 1993 and again in 1995.
While traditionalists would argue that Matt Busby was the better United manager, the newer generation of Premier League fans, who aren't fully aware of Busby's legacy, would claim that Sir Big Ron was the superior manager.
United would never challenge the likes of Liverpool in the late-80s, Arsenal in the early-90s and Blackburn Rovers in the mid-90s. But they were very rarely disgraced and brought a lot of pride back to United fans. The Old Trafford faithful could hold their heads high and boast they were "one of England's top six teams" almost every year under Atkinson.
In 2012, the North Stand of Old Trafford (with a capacity of 56,000, because without Ferguson’s glory there wouldn’t have been any need to increase the maximum attendance) was renamed the “Sir Big Ron Atkinson” stand by Martin Edwards (because the Glazers would never have been interested in Manchester United if it wasn’t for Ferguson’s success, so they’d have never bought the club and Edwards wouldn’t have been forced to resign as Chairman in 2002 because he wouldn’t have been in Switzerland, for the Champions League draw at the time, as United wouldn't have qualified, and therefore wouldn’t have used a prostitute on club business).
Ryan Giggs: Manchester City Legend
When Ryan Giggs first moved to Salford from Wales and started playing football for his local team, Deans FC, Giggs caught the eye of scouts from both Manchester United and Manchester City.
Giggs had even trained with City as a schoolboy.
If Ferguson wasn’t Manchester United manager in 1986, he would not have sent that scout to observe Giggs playing, he would not have gone to his house in 1987 and offered him a two year deal and Ryan may have signed for City instead and gone on to become a Manchester City legend.
The evergreen Giggs would go on to drive Manchester City even to this day, helping them evolve from a British institution to a global brand.
Without Ferguson, City would be the more successful of the two Manchester clubs.
United would be mocked by their local rivals, City, for not being as successful as them.
However, fans of Manchester United (or “our noisy neighbours” as Manchester City manager Jimmy Frizzell would dub them. Frizzell joined Manchester City in 1986 and stayed with them until 2013, making the Scot the longest-serving manager in England) would claim that City are not the real Manchester club, and their success has brought them support from outside the City—unlike United.
Kevin Keegan: Champions League Winning Manager
Without Alex Ferguson to play mind games with Kevin Keegan in the mid-90s, causing him to combust on live TV, King Kev's Newcastle United side would be free to dominate English football and eventually Europe in the late-90s.
Keegan would famously say “Football, bloody hell.” After late goals from Andy Cole and David Ginola, turned around a 1-0 deficit against Bayern Munich and handed Keegan's “The Entertainers” the 1999 Champions League trophy.
Before adding, “I’d love it if we won the Champions League again next year. I would. I’d love it.”
David Beckham: Still at Manchester United
In fact, who would want him? If it wasn’t for his complicated relationship with “father figure” Fergie, would he have ever pursued brand Beckham that made him such a marketable footballing superstar?
Would he have ever married Posh Spice?
Would he have ever worn a skirt?
And would he have ever done this to his hair?
In fact, it might be worth inventing a time machine and stopping Ferguson becoming United manager to prevent that hairstyle ever being inflicted upon mankind.
Aberdeen: Britain’s Most Successful Side
If Sir Alex had never left Aberdeen, they would have surely replicated the success Manchester United went on to achieve.
The Scottish Premier League, while eclipsing the English Premier League south of the border, would be derived for such disparity between its top team and the other teams.
However, the Dons' success would help them become a global brand.
Fans from all over the globe would flock to see them, buying Aberdeen merchandise, setting up Aberdeen fan clubs in Japan, Kenya and Peru and passionate fans would extol Ferguson's ability to constantly reinvent the Aberdeen side that would bring success virtually ever year.
We would all be mentioning Aberdeen alongside the names of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United.
And in 2013, when Sir Alex Ferguson finally announces his retirement as Aberdeen manager—after becoming one of most successful managers the game has ever seen—it would be announced that David Moyes would be replacing him as manager.
But if they were honest, the Aberdeen fans really wanted Jose Mourinho.