By Alex Netherton & Andi Thomas

Another weekend where the inevitable suicide attempt was quickly discovered, and so another Monday where the round-up is successfully submitted before the deadline. Speaking of inevitability, Manchester United managed, yet again, to go behind. There’s only so many times that this can happen before the luck runs out, people argue. And they would be right. The first Premier League game against Everton, for example, or the game against against Norwich the previous weekend. It’s not often you can legitimately question Alex Ferguson’s judgement after a 3-1 victory, but this is undeniably now a plausible case. United might be better off without him.

In the past, whether you agree with his decisions on transfers, Ferguson could be relied upon to settle on an effective balance to the side, if not a consistent first eleven (the team that beat John Terry’s Chelsea in the Champions League had not started a game together before that match, for example). Now, though, the teams he sends out are out-of-kilter and inexplicably misguided. Given how little Ferguson takes charge of training these days, if he can no longer be trusted to carry out his main responsibility of picking a first eleven to a reasonable standard, then it’s time for him to be replaced.

It’s not just an irrational love for one particular player. The damning case is that there are so many incorrect decisions that it appears that his general perspective on football is shot.

Let’s consider the most egregious mistake Ferguson and possibly humanity has ever made, Ashley Young. A relentless cheat in Beats headphones, putting the cock into cocksure, his only real talent is in defining spinelessness. Some players are accused of going missing in big games, Ashley Young just goes missing in most of them. Yet, when fit, he can almost always find himself preferred to the infinitely more talented Luis Nani and the infinitely more reliable Antonio Valencia. Fans detest him with good reason, and yet it’s Nani who’s the most likely to see the exit sign. His presence on the pitch guarantees the absence of the crucial parts of the male body: brain, spinal column and balls. Enough of this sick filth.

Young is not alone in being unreasonably tolerated. Demonstrably, since at least 2009, Ryan Giggs has not been the man to start a game of modern Association Football. While his brain has never had much to it, his experience was once a way of controlling a game in its final half hour, with the occasional crucial intervention. To start a game with Giggs, apparently as slow in his feet as he is now in his head, invites pressure from the off. From a man who refuses to invest in his midfield, this stubbornness now more resembles self-harm. When meagre resources are wilfully ignored, it’s time for somebody else to have a crack. Either he resolves to stop giving teams a head start, or he gives someone else a chance to fix it.

Paul Scholes, another veteran, is suffering. His weakness is not necessarily his fading body, but a growing inconsistency. Dominant against Liverpool, he struggled against QPR: a reversal of expectation. When you have Tom Cleverley—capable of a reasonably good performance for a full match—and an Anderson who seems to be improving with every appearance, and you cannot ignore them in favour of geriatricos. United’s team sheets are the definition of insanity: the repetition of the same actions expecting a different outcome.

It’s not just Scholes, Giggs, Young, Nani, Valencia, Cleverley and Anderson where Ferguson is harming the midfield. His best midfielder, Michael Carrick, is being run into the ground. While Patrice Evra suffered from never being given a break in his United career, it appears the same is now happening to Carrick. Last week, in a dead game against Galatasaray, Ferguson chose to play him at centre-back. Did he insult Sir Alex’s wife or something? And by doing the same to Rafael, it appears that the manager is intent on provoking a new defensive injury crisis just as Phil Jones and Chris Smalling make their way back from injuries. Injuries, which as is now the Manchester United style, have dragged on almost interminably, and which Ferguson appears to have done nothing to fix, except for saying, ‘I’m not sure what the problem is.’ Oh, alright then, Alex.

There are problems at the back: David de Gea is being treated like a ginger-headed stepchild and could be forgiven for going back to his homeland where he’d not be insulted by covering for Anders Lindegaard. De Gea is clearly one of the most talented young goalkeepers in the world, and is treated as an understudy. Patrice Evra is back to something like his real self, but the cover that has been desperately needed for the past four years is a sick joke. Manchester United are doing incredibly well at finding new revenue streams, but it appears the latest one is a raffle, the prize being the chance to play for Manchester United. This year, it appears it was won by Alexander Buttner.

In two years, Manchester United will have a squad without Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic will probably be gone too. Robin Van Persie will no longer be at his remarkable peak, and Nani will be impressing at a club where he is trusted. It makes sense that a new manager is given a chance to start the repairs now, rather than indulge Ferguson any longer.

Of course, this won’t happen. In return for his enthusiastic and shameful backing for the Glazers, Ferguson can more or less choose his exit date, as a gaggle of mall owners bleed an institution dry and supporters look on like hapless victims. Alex Ferguson might have overseen the creation of Manchester United as modern football’s greatest brand – alongside Barcelona and Real Madrid – but his dedication to his ego could well lead to its ultimate destruction.

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Elsewhere, charisma black hole Rafael Benitez took charge of Chelsea for his first game as manager, drawing 0-0 with Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City. It took him two days, but Rafael Benitez’s Chelsea have managed to reintroduce ‘shit on a stick’ back into football’s lexicon. A more depressing, dull use of millions of pounds you will not see until the next series of Treme. Chelsea fans have been criticised for failing to support their new manager, but they have no responsibility to back this jazz. At one point, football used to be fun. Now we are presented with debt-laden, oligarch’s playthings, and there is nothing to show for all the money and debt except a devotion to functional, grim and grinding soccerball.

Comments (19)

  1. Could this (finally) be the start of people starting to criticise Ferguson?
    His team selections over the last year or two have been simply baffling. His loyalty to Giggs and Scholes, and his total mistrust of anyone under the age of 30 have massively hindered United. Seeing Paul Pogba leave, Anderson & Cleverley left on the bench – despite the fact that they’re our best centre midfielders and contributed to the best football we’ve played since 2008 at the beginning of last season – and the treatment of Nani is really starting to annoy a lot of United fans.

    Last season, the pundits were all saying that it would have been Ferguson’s best achievement to win the league with that team, forgetting that the person solely responsible for putting the team together was Ferguson.

  2. This seems incredibly biased and reeks of hatred for United

  3. this article is the reason why Rogers didnt want to buy this site

  4. Despite spending far less on recent transfers that their 2 biggest rivals, United currently sit top of the table and only missed out on yet another league title last year on goal difference (to the limitless funding to their noisy neighbours). Without knowing what kind of transfer restrictions, wage restrictions (Pogba?) and ownership pressures Ferguson may be under, it is blindingly stupid to argue for the replacement of the most successful footy manager ever.

    I am not saying that he should be given a pass on every questionable decision, or that he is untouchable going forward based solely on past glories, but to call for his replacement right now? Get a grip.

    • My thoughts exactly. Besides, if hypothetically he were to leave now, who could possibly replace him right now?
      I do not think that some of his (in some cases, downright shocking) decisions warrant replacing this man. I still fully believe he is the right man for this job and will continue to be so for quite some time. Yes he has made quite a few questionable decisions over the past few years. However, I do not feel as though that warrants talking about replacing him.

  5. wow. 1992, fergie signs a divinely talented yet short fuse and ill tempered eric cantona, and succeeds in managing him into the driving force behing the success of manchester united and arguably the premier league. summer of 1995, Ferguson sells paul ince, mark hughes, and kanchelskis, and gets lambasted. alan hansen proclaims, you’ll never win anything with kids. in the words of eric cantona, “we did our talking on the pitch, and won the double double (back to back doubles).” in the treble season united “gained a reputation for not conceding defeat even in what seemed the most hopeless of circumstances, winning and drawing several matches with late goals after falling behind early on. Some of their more notable come-backs were the FA Cup Fourth Round tie at home to Liverpool, which Liverpool led from the third to the 85th minute, both legs of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals against Juventus and the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal, won in the final minutes of extra time by a Ryan Giggs goal. However, the most dramatic comeback came in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich. 2003 becks left united for madrid, and andy grey wouldn’t stop talking about how the attack just wasn’t as deadly. the following year keane left, and all the journos we’re talking about the end of united, chelsea were too good too rich. we’re at a similar point now. the major difference is that we may have the best player in the premier league as of today, so far in the season, in wayne rooney. the man can play 10 out of 11 positions and goes wherever united has a weakness. we lost the title on goal difference with only one world class player (rooney) healthy last year, in relation to city’s aguero, toure, kompany, silva, and hart (last year’s hart, this year’s is shite) . real united fans never doubt fergie, I gave up when he sold ruud boi killa and still found a way to win. we’re man united we never die. to speak ill of alex ferguson is a blasphemy and you might as well go jump on the city wagon. typical north american glory hunter fan turned writer. man united never die, our real fans are just as pleased coming back against bournemouth on a december as we are trouncing roma in the olimpico, perhaps we’re happier with the former. fcuk the titles, fcuk the glory, and fcuk the glory glory man united song .

  6. Lol at this pathetic piece of writing. Haha! Stop complaining! Top of the league, already qualified for cl knockout phase. #leaveityeah

  7. Find one United fan – you know the ones who actually watch the matches – who would tell you “Nani is the player that we should ride” to a prolonged and successful future, as this sad excuse of article suggests.

    Good luck with that search.

    • Nani, when played consistently on the right, is our best winger. The fact is his two footedness has been his undoing as Fergie played him on the left to accommodate Valencia (Valencia is embarrassingly one footed and is a conventional, simple, but albeit effective winger). Before we bought Kagawa Nani was also our most creative player and the fact that we are prepared to sell him, but keep A Young is frankly sickening. Truth is had Queiroz stayed Nani and Anderson would be better players. Do not underestimate his influence in Ronaldo’s development and indeed the signing of both Nani/Anderson. As great as Fergie is he has ruined both of them by not playing Nani on the right and by turning one of the most promising young attacking midfielders in Anderson, into a fucking runner. Fergie is not above criticism.

    • I would be more inclined to trust a back alley to babysit than Nani. He puts effort into about 20% of the games he plays and gives the ball away far far too much.

  8. Could have a point lads but not sure about nani at all. We really only have to wait 5 years at the latest before saf leaves. I’m happy to wait.

  9. As a Man Utd fan i agree and disagree. However i also feel chicharitos career had taken berbatovs route until he saved us a couple of times. I also think without Rooney, United would struggle a lot.

  10. This is a terrible article. There is a lot to be criticized in United’s game and in SAF’s decision, but so many things have been randomly taken out of context, its not even funny.

    “Yet, when fit, he (Young) can almost always find himself preferred to the infinitely more talented Luis Nani and the infinitely more reliable Antonio Valencia.”

    No, and no. Young has never started a game in Valencia’s position unless he has been rested or is injured. Nani is as ineffective on the left as Young is, his best games also come on the right. And even then they get equal preference on that left wing, apart from the last few months where there has clearly been a rift between SAF and Nani.

    “Fans detest him with good reason, and yet it’s Nani who’s the most likely to see the exit sign.”

    The latter has absolutely nothing to do with Ashley Young. Get your head out of your ass.

    ‘Ryan Giggs has not been the man to start a game of modern Association Football. WHILE HIS BRAIN HAS NEVER HAD MUCH TO IT, his experience was once a way of controlling a game in its final half hour, with the occasional crucial intervention”

    I do agree with the last bit. However, with all due respect, Ryan Giggs probably has more of a footballing brain contained within the pinky of his left hand, than all the posters on this forum and the author of this article combined.

    ‘Injuries, which as is now the Manchester United style, have dragged on almost interminably, and which Ferguson appears to have done nothing to fix, except for saying, ‘I’m not sure what the problem is.’ Oh, alright then, Alex.’

    What do you expect him to do, snap his fingers and heal injuries? He’s as frustrated as all of us regarding the injuries. We have a good medical team, and the facilities, so finding the root of the problem is not very easy. Carrick and Rafael were played because there weren’t enough fit defenders. When Jones is out, Rafael is our only proper right back, so he had to be played.

    ‘There are problems at the back: David de Gea is being treated like a ginger-headed stepchild and could be forgiven for going back to his homeland where he’d not be insulted by covering for Anders Lindegaard’

    Right. I’m sure even De Gea sees why Lindegaard is getting selected n as many games as he is (Technically, neither is covering for the other). One, Lindegaard has rarely made a mistake and is a slightly more experienced keeper. Second, have you seen the two keepers come out for a cross? Even De Gea will admit he’s not the outright No.1 just yet, although he will eventually be.

    ‘ Manchester United are doing incredibly well at finding new revenue streams, but it appears the latest one is a raffle, the prize being the chance to play for Manchester United. This year, it appears it was won by Alexander Buttner.’

    ?

    He’s made about one mistake which has led to a goal, in all his appearances so far. Did you expect a left back of Ashley Cole’s quality to cover for Evra? He’s been a fantastic squad player so far.

  11. As a Liverpool fan, you should stop complaining. You’re top of the league, win games when you play badly (as opposed to us losing them when we play well). You’re giving out because the team won but it was a struggle? Ferguson inspires his players to come from behind so often that it’s barely a disadvantage anymore. You should enjoy this while you have it.

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