“If we hit a bad spell, it would not be the right time to go. I would not want to put the new manager into a situation where he was taking over a bad team. I want to leave United in a good, healthy position. In 2002, I made the decision on a whim.”
Those were Ferguson’s words in a recent interview.
To say this was an underwhelming season would be uttering the obvious. But personally, there’s been an unusual sense of calm about the the way things have turned out; as morbid as it felt following Liverpool’s loss to Chelsea.
A sense of resignation — a feeling of “oh well, it’s not like we were pummeling sides to submission, only to stumble at the wrong moments while gifting the title away” — dawned earlier than usual, and despite the heart trying to clutch at the most slender of straws there wasn’t much hope anyway.
United’s season could be primarily viewed through the prism of Wayne Rooney, injuries, and the transfer windows. There’s only so much Rooney can do. There’s only so much you can do with a patched up defence and midfield if your injuries keep mounting. And there’s only so much you can do if you don’t make the moves necessary during the transfer windows to make up for the loss of Ronaldo.
A league win, had it happened, would have been incredible, as it would’ve papered over the
cracks gaping voids that had manifested itself. If we’d won, we would have won it despite playing poorly, with half-hearted patched up sides, and due to the munificence of inept rivals. This wasn’t a premier league title race. This year was a sack race; the least clumsy one crawled over the line. [And we all will say, well done to the least clumsy one, grudging praise afforded, but hey, it was only a sack race. So zip it, will ya!]
Which brings us back to the force that held everything together; albeit a rickety together. The one who managed to keep a cart bursting at the seams from spilling all over, balancing it where others failed. Ferguson’s job despite the circumstances and his own stubbornness during the transfer windows was a a study in marshalling resources. There were plenty of occasions where he toyed with bird-brained tactical decisions. But when other fans use the United have money and hence star players and hence win titles argument, they don’t realize what Ferguson’s had to deal with. With midfielders and right backs as old as oak trees, defenders who were either learning their trade, AWOL, dozing off, or injured, it’s an achievement to get this far.
What it still did however, was expose the side brutally for all it’s deficiencies. And if these holes were in doubt during the early half of the season, it’s blindingly obvious now. Ferguson’s quotes, indirectly refer to that. He won’t leave the side in shambles. He’ll leave it in a healthy state. And I’m convinced, no matter what his critics say, if he gets the right talent this window, he is still our man for the job.
The question is, will he act on his words? Well we have this world cup thing in between. Hopefully, something happens prior to the tournament. And if it doesn’t, hopefully he doesn’t forget something needs to be done following the tournament.
Ferguson’s admissions of some of the side’s failings and acting upon those admissions this summer should go some way in turning this supposed adversity around to a renewed era of vitality, before he finally rides off into the sunset.
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Yes, the title of this post is also applicable to myself and this blog. All shall be explained in due course. It’s good to be back though.