"There's something rotten in the State of Denmark..."
Shakespeare's famous quotation hints at the unravelling of Prince Hamlet's domain, or as Bob Garratt has suggested:
"The fish rots from the head..."
There are signs that Manchester United's modern dynasty could unravel. Of course one result doesn't cause something as fundamental as this, but it can either be a symptom or the first tile in a domino rally.
Sir Alex Ferguson is 70 on New Year's Eve and while that in itself may not be significant and Sir Bobby Robson went on to 71, the question must be asked—what would trigger his retirement?
On the one hand, he is a born fighter and "the heaviest defeat in my career" may lead him to fight even harder to defend the best individual record in history; it might instead trigger the start of the end.
Is it not likely that David Gill, or even Malcolm Glazer, may have asked Fergie on Sunday...or Monday..."Are you sure you still want to go on?" Because the decision always was and remains his and his alone, but sometimes someone has to be saved from himself...
So let's just suppose for the time being that Sir Alex is still up for the fight. Are we not right to ask instead whether there may be many more early warning signs of impending profound change at Old Trafford?
And there are...