Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Read in Between the Lines

Sir Alex Ferguson on Jose Mourinho

What could Sir Alex Ferguson  have really meant as he recently praised Jose Mourinho’s managerial abilities and achievements, as well as touting him as his possible replacement when he retires? Well, here is my take on it.

The Witty Old Scot is exactly what Sir Alex Ferguson should be called. He is a manager that mostly plays his cards really close to his chest either for team selections or transfers; more or less his team management and any internal issues regarding Manchester United. He is currently the Godfather of football, well, in England at least. Not until he adds a couple of more European Cups to his array of trophy collection can he be deemed the Godfather of European football. Becoming the Godfather of football worldwide is definitely out of it because at age 71, I do not see him managing a national team. But never say never with this great man of football, he might still be ferociously chewing his gum by the touch line at age 90.

Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates his last Premier League Title  (2010/2011 season) with two bottles of champagne

Well, enough of the whole grandpa talk and lets shift focus to the various possibilities of what Sir Alex Ferguson could have really meant as he recently praised Jose Mourinho’s managerial abilities and achievements, as well as touting him as his possible replacement when he retires.

Okay, before diving into all the probabilities of what “Sir Fergie” could have really meant with his comments about the self-proclaimed “special one”, let’s take a look at Jose’s managerial career so far. In eight seasons of club management, including an eight month sabbatical in 2008, Mourinho has led his club to win its domestic league seven times, the UEFA Champions league twice, and the UEFA cup once amongst other smaller traditional cup competitions in the various leagues he has managed in. It should also be majorly noted that he spent two years at Porto (2002-2004), three years at Chelsea (2004-2007), two at Inter (2008-2010), and he is currently in his third year at Real Madrid (2010-present). That gives an average of two and half years per team. So, I guess we can all easily predict him quitting Madrid next summer and jumping into a managerial career at the red half of Manchester to start a new legacy ehhh? Well, I think very not.

Ok, here are Sir Alex’s comments on Jose in quote: He can manage anywhere, absolutely," Ferguson told ITV4. "I'm not going to put any forecasts on what is going to happen at this club. I won't last forever, but Jose can manage anywhere, there is no question about that.
"I would never think a guy who hasn't played a game could be a top coach, but then you've got to look at his personality, I think his personality does it.
"He's got a marvellous, strong personality and I think that bridges that gap. That's incredible [his trophy haul]. How old is he now? Fiftieth year. So he is 20 years behind me. At the same rate he is going to add another 42 trophies. At the current rate, [that is] amazing isn't it?"
"I remember his first press conference [at Chelsea] and I thought 'he's a cocky b****r, him," Ferguson said. "He was telling players, 'Look, I'm the Special One, we don't lose games'.
"Bloody hell, coming to England, he is only a young man and saying he is the Special One! But what it did, it told all the players to have the belief they were going to win the league."

Based on Jose Mourinho’s CV and Sir Alex’s comments about him, I don’t see “The Only One” (A phrase he acclaimed himself at the end of last season after finally running out of things to say) becoming the next manager at Man Utd and neither was Ferguson really touting him to be a capable successor. It is funny how such could still be said of a proven manager in four different top European leagues. Both Fergie and Jose have never hidden there admiration and respect for one another. In all honesty, that might just be all there is to their relationship. If you really “read in between the lines Fergie’s comments about Mourinho having not played the game (which is wrong by the way) and his strong personality being the catalyst for his success, thus far speaks volumes. By transmitting the witty man’s comments, it just sounds like, “Jose, without playing the game, there are major facet and certain qualities you are missing as a coach”. In addition, Fergie also enthused that at the rate Jose is acquiring trophies, he will have like 42 by the time he turns 70. Hmmm, that sounds like serious envy Fergie, as well as cheekily saying, I don’t really see you achieving that feat. Finally, for the almighty Fergie to refer to someone as being “cocky” just means he thinks he is COCKY, period.
Jose holding the La Liga Cup (2011/2012 season) in a joyous mood

Therefore, by paying attention to Jose’s CV and the above connoted meaning of Ferguson’s comment about him, Jose Mourinho is more of a short term way to success for big teams that are willing to spend money on players. This is not the custom at Old Trafford, where tradition, loyalty and longevity are the core of the club. Also, throw in the emphasis on youth players and developing locally grown talents through the ranks to first team, this spells a no brainer for a man like Mourinho and he probably knows this too. His swash-buckling personality style of management can only bring short-term success to a football institution like Manchester United. With this, Manchester City or PSG (Paris Saint-Germain) look more of a probable destination for “The Special One” for the time being at least. Being as outspoken and confident as he is (notice I did not use the word “cocky”), he is probably his own worst critic and don’t be surprised if he tries to develop his long-term management skills as well as youth development of players. On the other hand, he might just follow the footstep of the man he willingly played apprentice to, Sir Bobby Robson, and keep hopping from one managerial job to another(Albeit his long spell at Ipswich Town). So far, Jose’s cocky demeanour has done wonders for his career, but he might be running out of time if he doesn't add other managerial/coaching strategies and qualities to the ones he already possess. But, as long as the big teams with rich owners whom are looking for quick time success continue to be common place in the game, then Jose Mourinho will be perfectly fine for a long time to come.
Now back to Sir Alex Ferguson, the man that has “almost seen and done it all” in football (this is because even with his ample experience, the end of last season proved a fresh experience for him), it is of no doubt that he is really determined to see through the next generation of glory hungry Man Utd players with the likes of Rafael, Fabio (On loan at QPR), Evans, Smalling, Cleverly, Jones, Chicharito, and Welbeck in the ranks. These are young players that have really worked hard and earned Fergie’s trust and he will not just throw that out of the bag and quit next summer, leaving these young stars in the hands of a coach who just wants instant success at any cost.
All in all, could Sir Alex Ferguson have really meant his comments on Jose Mourinho, as exactly as he said? And believes Jose is the one to take over his reign? I still highly doubt this…Oh well…..
Football!!!! Bloody Hell!!!!
Michael Awosemusi.               

Sources: 1. ESPN Soccernet
             2. (Man Utd Official Website)
             3. Wikipedia
             4. Real Madrid Official Website

Ø  Sir Alex Ferguson played for six clubs between 1957 and 1974. Playing 317 317 games and scoring 170 goals. He coached Scotland in 1985-1986 season.

Ø  Mourinho played for four clubs between 1980 and 1987. Playing 94 games and scoring 13 goals.


  1. I've got Madrid 3-2 Man U, Ronaldo with a brace and a Benzema goal... Meanwhile RVP scores 1 and so does Rooney. It's gonna be a terrific match, whatever the score line!

    1. The Game ended 1-1. You were right about Ronaldo scoring (although not a brace)will be nice to know you prediction for the second leg

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