Sir Alex Ferguson vs. Vladimir Lenin: A Comparison, or Plain Rubbish?

Edward QuinnCorrespondent IMay 21, 2008

It was the evening of May 20, 2008, 10:35 pm, ITV 1, my bedroom.

The preview to what they called "The Game of Games" popped on. A preview of the 2008 Champions League Final between Manchester United and Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

As well as looking back at the roads of United and Chelsea to the final, we also had interviews with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo, Joe Cole and Petr Cech (where I liked it that his nickname was affiliated to one of the Russian Czars, Peter the Great), a reporter's quest to interview Roman Abramovich (which failed), and Champions League Final rapping with DJ Yoda (which was catchy).

But before the interview with Sir Alex Ferguson, the reporters gave him a contrast to Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Communist Party of Russia, who was Russia's leader from 1917-1924.

Is this a good comparison or not? I'll try to find out.

It is probably a good idea to outline the qualities/characteristics of Lenin, and see how Sir Alex matches up to those.

Lenin was an intensely hard worker. He gave his whole life to the Russian Revolution (where his party of Communists seized and held power). He had no free time or leisure, for all was for the Revolution. He lived simply and worked 16 hours a day.

Can Sir Alex compare to that? I don't think so. True, Manchester United may be his life's work like Lenin's was the Revolution, but does Sir Alex work 16 hours a day?

I honestly don't think so.

And of course, he is entitled to his free time, and though I do not know what he does with it I am sure he relaxes (unlike Lenin did). And with the money he amasses, he is sure to have a rich and secure life.

Lenin was a great public speaker. He had the great ability to be able to explain complex ideas in simple phrases so that his followers would understand.

Sir Alex is also a good speaker. True, he may never talk on Match of the Day, but during interviews with the press, he always gets his point across. He shows not a hint of emotion, and usually gets in a joke or two as well.

Lenin was a pragmatic and ruthless leader. He drafted in harsh economic policies on the peasants, which involved the Communist soldiers to forcibly take grain from the peasants in order to win the Civil War. But when he had to be, Lenin was also known to compromise on his policies in order to keep the people happy and the Communists in power.

Sir Alex has shown a ruthless streak in the past, such as forcibly getting rid of David Beckham and Ruud Van Nistelrooy when he felt they no longer were of any use for his football team. But he has had to compromise sometimes with injuries by bringing in youths and playing people in unfamiliar positions, and they have always worked.

So, good comparison or not? I would say it does have some basis, as Sir Alex and Lenin are similar sorts in some ways. But honestly, do we think that Lenin could have led United to the same successes that Sir Alex has had with them?

Hmmm, I don't think so, even if he did have Stalin as his ruthless assistant.

I just don't think Lenin would have understood the concept of football!


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