One of the most regularly discussed items amongst the football press is who will be the man to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United when he eventually retires. Given the length of time he has been with the club and masses of success he has enjoyed, it is clear that the man who takes over from him will have to do incredibly well to impress.
Ferguson has gone back to the roots of the club by playing entertaining football and trusting in youth. In his time at the club, he has kept plenty of former players on the payroll, like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Mike Phelan, Sir Bobby Charlton and Bryan Robson, to name a few. When Ferguson stops being our manager, it is fairly likely he will move higher up within the club somewhere, taking or creating a role for himself.
The man who replaces him needs to be familiar with how United to do things, and whilst being his own manager, strive to keep within the traditions of the club which have been re-established by Ferguson.
It therefore stands to reason that a former United man, especially someone who has played for Ferguson, would stand a good chance of getting the job.
Mark Hughes, a Manchester United legend, was in the press’ shortlist because of the impressive job he did with Blackburn Rovers. Whilst not winning a trophy, he kept the club away from the relegation zone and steered them to the latter stages of cup competitions.
Did he have what it takes to be Ferguson’s replacement? It’s hard to know. He didn’t have experience of handling big egos and hadn’t managed a club in European competition. When appointing Ferguson’s replacement, those lacking attributes would have gone against him, and could have been all that was needed not to take him seriously for the job. But he did have the previously mentioned qualities working in his favour, as a former player, an International manager, with a good eye for talent in the transfer market. At the least, he may have been given a go whilst the hunt for a more experienced manager took place, with Hughes being given the opportunity to show he was capable.
Regardless, any ideas of him becoming the future United manager were blown out of the water when during the summer of 2008, Hughes took the job at City.
After his first season in charge, City finished a lowly 10th, five points worse off and one place lower than Sven-Goran Eriksson had managed the season before, which ended with his dismissal.
564 days after his appointment, he watched City beat Sunderland 4-3 at home today, putting them 8th in the table, having won 6 of the 16 league games they’ve played, with a semi-final in the League Cup to play next month. This is deemed unacceptable for The Richest Club In The World though and Hughes is out of work.
Was it worth it, Sparky? A year and a half at City and he has without doubt ruled himself out of ever being the United manager. How depressing is that? At least if he had gone on to achieve something of note with City, it might have been worth it on some level, but all his CV shows is ridiculous amounts of money spent, no trophies and a 10th placed finish. Somebody better show him City’s Tevez campaign poster, seeing as though it amused him so much at the time. Through his bitter tears, he may still see the ‘funny’ side of it.
In the mean time, we can rely on agent Kidd, City’s new assistant manager, to continue where Hughes left off, just as he did with Leeds, in giving United fans plenty to laugh about.
Poor ol’ Sparky.