This weekend marks Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25th year in charge of Manchester United. All week I’ve been reading fantastic tributes to the great man and I felt that it was only fitting that I, a Liverpool fan, recognise the efforts of the man who single-handedly knocked my beloved club off their perch.
It was Nov 6, 1986. I was barely four months old, so I obviously don’t have memories of anything. But let’s think about the way the football world was back then.
Argentina were crowned World Cup champions in Mexico in July of that year. There were no names on the players’ jerseys. There were no coloured boots. Football games were not broadcasted worldwide. No billionaires to own football clubs.
Liverpool were the champions of England and Alex Ferguson (not a Sir by then) was appointed manager of Manchester United. A football club with a huge history but that hadn’t won the league in 17 years at the time.
Fast forward 25 years.
Spain are the current world champions. Players have got names printed on their jerseys, as they see fit – it doesn’t even have to be their real names (i.e. Chicharito). Football games in the Premier League are broadcasted live to pretty much everywhere in the world. Billionaires own the majority of football clubs, and those that aren’t owned by the world’s wealthiest are lagging behind.
Liverpool have not won a league title for 21 years and Sir Alex Ferguson is still the manager of Manchester United. The most successful football club in England.
A lot has changed in the world in 25 years, and in football, but he has been the one constant during that time. Most of my childhood memories involve football, and more specifically, watching Manchester United triumph over Liverpool season after season.
But despite being a loyal Liverpool fan, it was Ferguson’s many different teams that Ferguson has churned out over the past quarter of the century. I have become obsessed by the legacy that Sir Alex Ferguson has created, jealously wishing it was Liverpool he was managing instead.
Ferguson has given us legends and football teams that make Manchester United fans proud. He has given them enough memories to last a lifetime, whether they were at Old Trafford or in front of their TV screens.
It is what makes Sir Alex Ferguson special. He made Manchester United a special club again when he took over. Football fans of other clubs, especially Liverpool fans like me, may hate the man, but nobody disrespects him.
Everybody wishes they had an Alex Ferguson at their club, even though they won’t admit it. A man who’s ready to give up everything for the club and who has proved all his doubters wrong time and time again. He is the definition of the word “legend”.
Everything we have come to know now of Manchester United, has been thanks to this man. Players have come and gone at the club in 25 years, but Sir Alex has remained. Ferguson always says he’ll keep managing as long as he’s healthy enough to do it. At 69 years of age, he still looks pretty healthy, and I know many Manchester United fans will be hoping and praying that he stays healthy for at least another 5 years.
Ferguson will eventually draw the curtains on a long and illustrious career. Manchester United fans hope that day will never comes, but for us Liverpool fans, that day can’t come soon enough.