Sunday, May 30, 2010

The two sides of Ferguson: Great manager, but his reputation as a man has been tainted...

There's no doubt about Ferguson's standing among the list of great British managers' - he's right up there with the very best - in the eyes of many he is the best. However, many United fans have a different view of Fergie, the man. Many supporters are disappointed with the United manager because of his loyal, but misguided support for the Glazer family, at least that is how the supporters see it.

Since 2005 and following the Glazer family takeover of the club, Ferguson has had a difficult job, not least because of a lack of transfer funds; in this respect and according to supporters group MUST, the family haven't put a single penny of their own money into the club following their debt laden acquisition.

The summer transfer window is open for business and Fergie needs to strengthen his squad with the addition of three proven signings who can perform at the very highest level. At the season end, Fergie hinted there would be additions to the squad, but since then the manager has played down the prospect of wholesale changes. On Friday, the club announced losses of £67m for the first nine months of the financial year; in response, analysts say the existing business model does not work unless players are sold 'United must sell players to pay debt'.

Given the financial plight of the club under the current regime, it is easy to understand why the fans question Ferguson's public support for the Glazer family. The thing is this, Ferguson doesn't need to say anything about the owners - in the eyes of the fans this would be more acceptable than supporting his paymasters so publicly.

Some supporters believe if Fergie had spoken out in 2005 against the takeover, the city institutions who enabled the Glazers' massively leveraged acquisition to go ahead might not have done so. We will never know how much validity there is behind that claim, what we do know is Fergie has been an avid supporter of the Glazers', but will he live to regret this stance if United's fortunes on and off the pitch nose-dive?

In the eyes of many unhappy match-going supporters, no matter what Fergie does in the remainder of his time as manager of United, his reputation as a man has been tainted and not just because of his support for the Glazer family.

Let us remember Ferguson had a good relationship with Irish horse-racing tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier. The pair went on to become major shareholders in the club via their investment vehicle Cubic Expression. However, Ferguson famously fell out with John Magnier, reportedly over stud rights to a jointly owned horse Rock of Gibraltor.

The Glazer family started buying shares in United in 2003 and following the reported fall-out with Magnier, the Irish duo eventually sold their United shareholding to the Glazer family. In fairness, McManus and Magnier always maintained that their interest in United was purely from an investment perspective - they were always going to sell at some point. Nonetheless, it was hugely disappointing that Cubic Expression chose to sell to the Glazer family...the decision to sell to the Americans came about after the much publicised spat with Ferguson, who at one time was said to be a friend. It is therefore fair to ask if Magnier was punishing Ferguson following the Rock of Gibraltor bust-up. Magnier and McManus are not fools, they must have known how potentially damaging the Glazer takeover could turn out to be, given the levels debt they were taking on, and if you accept this scenario, again it is fair to ask was this Cubic Expression's way of punishing Ferguson?

It was a win, win situation for the Irish duo; Magnier has never stepped foot inside Old Trafford and the McManus family reportedly support Arsenal; neither of them are United supporters - they had no real interest in the club. Inevitably, the net result of the Glazers' pursuit of taking the club private pushed up the club's share price and they ended up paying over £3 per share; the same shares that no long before could be purchased for just 99p. Cubic Expression made a killing on their United shares (as did many other investors) and when they eventually sold out, they effectively screwed United and Fergie into the bargain.

Since 2005, the cost of United season tickets has risen by 42% - which is another reason why Ferguson should not be supporting the owners so publicly.

Ferguson also blotted his copybook when he questioned the character of United legend Brian Kidd in his autobiography Managing My Life. In 1998 Kidd had taken charge of Blackburn Rovers, but he was sacked in 1999 not long after Ferguson's book was published.

Other controversies include the departure of club doctor .Mike Stone, who was by all accounts a very popular figure within Old Trafford during his time with the club

10 comments:

  1. A self proclaimed socialist climbing into bed with a gang of capitalists!

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  2. Well done. It say all about my feelings. No doubt fergie is a great manager but i not sure what the future of the club will become. For now, lets remember that we are still able to support. In the future, time will tell but i dont think the Glazer plan will go according to their plan.

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  3. KK,

    Sadly, if you read that Guardian link about the club having to sell players to survive, the Glazers are in serious danger of bankrupting the club at some point in the not too distant future.

    United cannot carry on selling players... that is the road to ruin, as Leeds United found out in 2002 when they went into administration.

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  4. it was always obvious you had a thing with fergie.In all your posts you have always attacked him, sometimes indirectly.But such a direct assault is insulting.what have you done for the club compared to the great man?As a great man once said it is rather difficult writing your own book than finding faults in others.

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  5. So what do you want him to do? Support the protest and get his ass kicked out of the club when the club needs him most?
    It is all about political games. And I believe Fergie is doing what he should be doing. Remember that he can do nothing about changing the owner, but the owners has all the mean to replace him if they feel wanting to do so. And if he gets kicked out, he cannot do anything to help the club.
    Please do not be so blind and extreme because of the feeling you get from the protest. There are people who can say things and there are people who can't. Fergie is in the position that he can't. So leave him be.
    Really sad to see a Man Utd blog doubting Fergie's love for the club.

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  6. I agree. I can't see how the Glazer plan will work. But i dont think they will let the club go bankrupt. If they cant afford to pay anymore, i believe they will sell to other owners and by then, i believe we are in another dangerous situation if the owner is not a big fans of the club.

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  7. Well, different people see things differently. Ferguson is only doing his job whatever unreasonably disgruntled people may feel. Granted that the Glazers may be using MUFC, but it is not for Ferguson to question them. His business is the team and the team alone. He cannot be the Prime Minister of UK as well.

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  8. For anyone who doesn't agree with the contents of this post, all I can tell you is I'm more in touch with the 'match going fans' than you are. I you think I'm alone in voicing these concerns, then think again because you are very wrong.

    And the risk of repeating myself; Fergie would have been better off saying NOTHING when asked about the Glazers. IF he had done, he would have been able to carry on doing a very difficult job and he'd have kept the fans' on-side, and he wouldn't have left himself open to criticism. Fergie has been dumb in this respect.

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  9. Fergie tainted ? Not in the least.
    Frankly,you being in touch with "match-going fans" don't mean nuts,as those "fans" that you referred to are obviously pretty misguided.Fergie has done so much for the club,and no one should doubt him at all.He is loyal to the club,and to anyone that own it.All the years the clubs have changed hands numerous times,and you have never hear Sir Alex publicly criticize the owners.Similarly,he will not go public with his players individual performance,and he emphasized on it with Roy Keane's case.
    I would say most complaints about Glazers will be more connected to the rise in tickets prices more than anything.The debts are secondary.All these years the club have its debts,but no one really raise a finger until now.
    And last of all,please don't criticize Sir Alex for this.He may be blamed for choosing the wrong team at times,and various other minor things,but don't doubt his decisions,and definitely not him as a man and manager to our club.
    Oh by the way,Fergie dumb? Try getting to a fraction of what he has achieved first,then you criticize his intelligence.

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  10. Danny,

    Fergie is a great manager, but it ends there. He has made a lot of mistakes in the eyes of the 'real fans'.

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