Why we should learn from the scoff as Sir Alex’s position is questioned

It was extremists of course and not something that we should give too much attention to but a tiny, tiny number of Manchester United fans believe that Sir Alex Ferguson should no longer be the manager at Old Trafford and are using the 4-1 defeat by Liverpool as proof of this.

They are not to be taken seriously of course and United will end the season with silverware that most clubs only dream of but nevertheless there is this tiny group who vocalise their point of view.

So far, so glorious democracy and freedom of speech however things become more troubling when those putting forward such curious points of view are echoed elsewhere.

Management Ferguson style is the long game and the gap between the Scot coming down from Aberdeen to becoming the legend of the dug out that he is now has been reported on elsewhere not only at Old Trafford but also in Scotland.

The accepted wisdom of the management of Sir Alex Ferguson is that time is the governing factor of success be it time to build, time to rebuild or time to augment the good into the great.

United’s European record before the treble is – in retrospect – cast as building for the glory of May 1999.

Yet throughout football managers are given the tiniest slither of the patience that Old Trafford gave Ferguson in those early years which he hardly even needs to draw on even after a home humiliation by one’s bitterest rivals. If anyone has enough in the bank to get over a 4-1 defeat it is Ferguson.

We should all scoff at those who say one defeat should force a re-evaluation of the manager at Old Trafford and perhaps we should all scoff when we hear similar at our own clubs.

After all Rafa Benitez has had his critics at Liverpool but he emerged victorious this week with eight goals against Real Madrid and The Red Devils while he rotate-a-manager at St James’ Park Newcastle sees them hover over the drop zone. Sticking with managers makes good sense in principal and in practice.

Perhaps we should all take the same policy of scoff when our managers position are questioned within a year or two or appointment. Perhaps we should act with the same incredulity as those hearing that the Knight of the Realm should no longer be at the helm at Old Trafford act.

We do not though. Up and down the land managers are sacked with a patience that would have sacked Ferguson at Pittodire or Old Trafford and it is taken as a part of the game, a thing of football, rather than an act of poor macro management by a club.

In football though we have a world where we are told we should not question what is handed down to us from the clubs we say we support but increasingly adopt an attitude of lords to our vassals.

It is in this atmosphere that with a straight face the manager of Chelsea can criticise another club for spending immorally not a year since the exit of £31m curio Andriy Shevchenko.

Football supporters should laugh at Guus Hiddink for his hypocrisy as they do at those who say that Ferguson should not be Manchester United manager and they should laugh too when they hear similar subjects to scoff at at their own clubs.

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