With so many professional managers in the world there are many things to consider when deciding who is the best of the best. Do they manage at club level? International level? What league do they manage? How much hardware do they have? How long have they been in charge at a club? The list is endless. However, one manager in particular stands out above them all and that is… Sir Alex Ferguson.
Track record: Sir Alex Ferguson is the most decorated manager in English Premier League history and the second-longest serving manger at 23 years in Manchester United’s history next to Sir Matt Busby. He is widely viewed as the top soccer manager in the world.
Players respect: all players that play for Manchester United or are former players have the utmost respect for Sir Alex Ferguson. The club comes first and nobody is bigger than the game itself. If any player crosses Ferguson the wrong the way then there is over as a Manchester United player. Ferguson, has never gone back and given players a second chance who have crossed him. Even David Beckham, the most famous soccer player in the world, was shown the door by Ferguson because of his interest in off field media attention. Ferguson did not approve of this and it never slowed down since Beckham loves this attention. Their relationship quickly deteriorated and Beckham was shown the door at the young age of 27. Some other big names that have disputed with Ferguson and were later shown the door include Roy Keane and Jaap Stam. There must always be order and the leader must have all players respect or the team will not function properly. This holds true for teams at all levels of competition. Despite having a fall-out with a number of world class players, these players have later gone on to say that Ferguson is the best manager. Some players have also gone back to work at the club in coaching and scouting roles.
Substitutions: the standard substitutions in a game are made at half time, at the one hour mark and with about ten minutes left in a game. There may a need to substitute due to injury; however, those are the standard times a coach will make a change. The idea behind each change is to get enough out of the player that started the game meanwhile giving enough time to player coming on to make a contribution to the game. Ferguson has always been able to find the players that best contribute to the team as a substitute.
Rotation of players: the English Premier League is one of the most difficult professional leagues to play in. The season is long and the play is very fast and physical. Manchester United has a proven track record of competing for glory in all competitions. With that being said Sir Alex Ferguson cannot use the same starting eleven each week because this would tire the players out and risk injury. More importantly, depending on the opposition the manager needs to put the best eleven players on the field for that particular match. Some players work better than others in certain positions, formations and against certain teams. Ferguson pays attention to the smallest details and no matter the competition is able to field the best team making him the best tactician.
Furthermore, Ferguson has been able to find the balance of youth and experience while all players must put club first before all else. For these reasons he has maintained a united team spirit within the team where everyone feels a part and has a role to play.
Substitutions Champions League Final 1999: the biggest year for Manchester United was in 1999 when the club won the treble (English Premier League, FA Cup and EUFA Champions League). No English team has ever done this before. Ferguson put striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, often dubbed the super-sub, in the game who later score the game winning goal in injury. Ferguson is known to make the right changes with the right players so they have an immediate impact in the game.
At 68 years of age Ferguson is showing no signs of slowing down. His life revolves around Manchester United and most importantly he never grows tired of winning. For these reasons he won’t step away from the game unless his health prevents him from being manager.
There are many other great managers in the world of soccer although there is only one Sir Alex Ferguson. With the way clubs are run these days and the lack of time managers are given to succeed no manager will remain at a club as long as Ferguson has at Manchester United. Ferguson is truly a living legend.
What other manager is up there with Ferguson?