Reports in some of today’s papers claim that Sir Alex Ferguson has accepted the job of managing the Great Britain football team in London’s 2012 Olympic Games.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has urged Great Britain to organise a football team, but the fear that Scotland, England and Wales would have to enter all competitions as a united team, rather than remain separate as they are now, has held the proposed plan back. Blatter insists it will just be a one off though.
This has lead to speculation that an all-English team will represent Great Britain, but this again poses problems. Why should a team supposedly representing the whole of Great Britain just contain Englishmen, not picked on merit.
Apparently Sir Alex Ferguson has indicated that he will accept Seb Coe’s approach to manage the team, but why?
“I won’t be managing here any more than three years at the very, very most. Without question. I can assure you of that,” said Ferguson back in May. “I know I would find it hard to give up managing United. I can’t do it, not at the moment anyway. My wife, Cathy, was the one who talked me out of retiring last time but she wouldn’t do that now. It’s when you have to think about time for yourself. I think my wife deserves a bit of my time, too.”
Ferguson has made it pretty clear his sole reason for retirement is to spend more time with his wife, so it doesn’t make sense that he would then take on another job. He suggested that he would probably take on a less demanding job with the club, in the form of an ambassadorial role.
“That is probably one of the avenues, but that is maybe for just 30 or 40 days a year,” he said. “It will happen in some shape or form. I hope so. I have a good relationship with the club.”
However, despite his desire to spend more time with his wife and stay on at United, he did seem worried about finding things to fill his time after retirement.
“The big fear about retirement is what do you do with yourself?” he continued. “There are too many cases of people who retire and end up in a box soon afterwards because they have lost the very thing that keeps them alive. What I would like to do is travel to places I have never been to. I would love to go to the States and spend three or four months there. But that is only one year – you can only do that once. You can only go to Australia once. You don’t go every year. What you’re left with is the time when you wake up at six o’clock in the morning and you go to get out of bed and you say to yourself: ‘I’m finished.’ That’s the hard part.”
Is managing Team GB at the Olympics the answer to this problem? I hope not. Whilst it won’t take up as much time as managing United, therefore opening the possibility for him doing it, I’d personally rather he left United and that was the end of his managing career.
Taking on this huge responsibility of organising the first ever football team Great Britain has entered in the Olympics is more likely to end in failure than in success. The Games are just four years away, and when you consider England, Scotland and Wales all failed to qualify for the recent European Championships, it doesn’t bode well.
England managers have struggled for years to get the team to gel and so far, have failed miserably. Englishman or foreigner, it doesn’t matter, the job of England manager is a thankless task which breeds failure and disappointment. It would be a huge task for Fergie not only to get these English players sorted out, but to integrate players from Wales and Scotland seems almost impossible!
Although one thing is for certain, if Fergie accepts the offer, you know it will be Darren Fletcher wearing the captain’s armband!