Sir Alex Ferguson tributes devalued by sycophants says Glanville

Manchester United celebrate winning the 2008 European Cup Final
Sir Alex Ferguson won the 2008 European Cup with Manchester United

One thing I can’t stand since this blogging phenomenon came along is an angry response to an authoritative figure behind the furious bashing of a worn out keyboard. This is closely followed by the pretentious and cringeworthy open letter, which of course would be used as toilet paper by the person it is indeed intended for.

But I would like to discuss the comments by the well respect and extremely knowledgeable Brian Glanville in this month’s World Soccer – a superbly glorious historical football publication. The legendary journalist decided to focus on Sir Alex Ferguson, probably for the final time, but instead of gushing over the unprecedented era of success, Glanville has opted to concentrated on Ferguson’s handling of individuals within his profession and the 99 questions posed to the great man by Magnier and McManus.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, that is the beauty of football. Glanville has been commentating and reporting on football for many a year and was in attendance at the 1958 World Cup, which saw a young Pele burst onto the scene. I’ve enjoyed his column in World Soccer for years, despite the grumpy nature of some pieces. He is honest and to the point and I will continue to subscribe.

However, for someone who does get lost in the Uncle Albert world of “in my day”, surely the old school, no nonsense talking man from Govan was the final figure to depart from an era we are never likely to see again? Personalities like Clough, hard disciplinarians like Herrera or revolutionists like Sacchi are hard to come by nowadays – Sir Alex Ferguson had it all in his locker. So why, for such a superb journalist, concentrate on off the field matters and relationships with the elitist over building side after side or investing in youth?

There is no doubt that Ferguson is a man to be feared if you get on the wrong side of him, no question. Stories of stubbornness, petulance and anger go back years, but without this narrow minded approach and desire, would he have been so successful in his time at Old Trafford? Despite nearly biting Patrick Barclay’s head off when being questioned about Seba Veron, the great man decided to offload the extremely gifted Argentinian for a loss of £13million, despite only arriving two season previous. Ferguson knew when he was in the wrong, but as the boss he had to always stand by his decisions.

As touched upon, Glanville often recounts of the stars of yesteryear, with one of Sir Alex’s heroes popping out now and again. Alfredo Di Stefano, was indeed one of the greatest players to ever grace a football pitch and was pivotal in Real Madrid’s five European Cup wins in the late 1950s and early 60s. He also, along with colleague David Conn who also added unnecessary caveats into his piece, questioned the two European Cup wins by Manchester United under Sir Alex – something I’m baffled with whenever I hear it branded around.

Only two European Cups

Its either mumbled by a moron or a rival fan who is still talking to his pals about his eight European Cup wins with Tranmere Rovers on Football Manager. How can winning two European Cup be said with any negative connotations? Honestly! There are a number of legendary managers that have picked up two European Cup wins such as Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Ernst Happel and Ottmar Hitzfeld. Bob Paisley is the only man to ever win three European Cups, a remarkable achievement, but there is no doubt that since 1990, the competition as we know it has changed dramatically in terms of competitiveness.

The fact that AC Milan were the last team to win back to back European Cups in 89 and 90 speaks volumes. It was indeed only Ferguson’s United that came close to matching that, losing to probably the best side of all time in Barcelona in Rome. Glanville referenced a Sunday Times article that spoke of the ‘narrow’ victories of United two recent European Cup successes. You either win something or you don’t. He goes onto compare the two victories in 2008 and 1999 with that of now lowly Nottingham Forest in 79 and 80 – a comparison I don’t think he needs to make.

If football were indeed played with the same formations, stadia and player diets – then he might have a point, but the fact that in that decade, Bayern Munich won the trophy three times, Ajax won it three times and both Liverpool and Forest shared it four times, highlights that it was far easier for teams to retain the title that it was twenty years later. The slightly smug and eyebrows raised at the ‘slim’ honours list of Ferguson’s European quest is ridiculous. Winning his first in 1999 was remarkable and the second unbelievable – feats that some fans and journalists downplay due to unrealistic expectations. We’ve only won the league this year…..

Juventus, the benchmark

I probably speak about this quite often, but Sir Alex Ferguson once remarked that Juventus, the Old Lady, were the benchmark that United had to overcome before winning the holy grail. United’s performance in the September of 1996 was a little like the poor Tahitians against the World Champions Spain – we were battered, although the 1-0 scoreline wasn’t a true reflection of the Italian Champions dominance that night.

As time evolved and the sides paired up against each other again and again, United got closer to their Italian rivals. Lippi’s men were beaten in the 1997/98 season, with Ryan Giggs’ glorious solo run overshadowing the great Zidane and co. Ferguson’s men were growing in stature and the unbelievable 3-2 semi final win in Turin in 1999 is the best of the all. United were poor in the early part of the newly formed Champions League, but Fergie had caught up with the elite pack and beat them on their own turf.

From 1997 onwards, United were always amongst the elite, with the exception of a few seasons. In some peoples eyes, The European Cup is the pinnacle – eclipsing the romanticism of the World Cup. So why are two European Cups often used against Sir Alex Ferguson, rather than realising that feat was up there with the best of them, especially when viewed in context.

We’ll never see the likes again

The tributes have been done and the goodbyes said. We now look to David Moyes to walk in the footsteps of the great men of the past. The purpose of this piece is not an angry rant at one of the greatest journalists this country has produced, but to suggest that his piece focused more so on Alex Ferguson the person, in his opinion, rather than the footballing man. It is ironic that an accompanying piece focuses on David Beckham, who he berates for achieving more off the pitch than on it. Perhaps if Glanville did indeed discuss issues on the pitch, we wouldn’t be talking about ‘style over substance’?

World Soccer is a superb magazine and I will, as always, continue to buy it. But I would have thought that both Ferguson articles would concentrated on his achievements, legacy and what he brought to the game, not about a race horse from 2003, his agent son and ‘lack’ of European Cups. He continued to build side after side, handling big egos and adapting with the changing footballer. From heading down the boozer in the 80s to witness legless pissed up players to Cristiano Ronaldo in his micro shorts and Rio Ferdinand tweeting pictures of him eating a Snickers bar – he saw it all and rolled with the times. Glanville. A great knowledgable journalist, but got it wrong on this occasion.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

12 Comments on Sir Alex Ferguson tributes devalued by sycophants says Glanville

  1. I would offer up my ‘ pearls of wisdom’ Doron that being monotone not having a controversial view does not attract readers or debate.

    Hence your retort to the legendary journalist as you imply he Glanville is.
    You are at an clear advantage over myself and no doubt many Reds as you read World Soccer, which I don’t, having flicked through the magazine only a few times.

    I’m basically not interested in obscure information and detail on, from recall as an example miniscule back – water clubs in the Americas. Not meant to be disparaging or disrespectful just how I viewed the tome when I briefly read it.

    The crux and I accept there is lot of detail ( possibly ) too much in the article, to reasonably comment; you must surely agree when the boss called it a day, there were a lot of gushy articles. Rightly so but many were just over the top and as you know there are saboteur’s ready to pounce, should you make a mistake in your post, or comment, basically making themselves appear more knowledgeable, informed than yourself.

    I recall as a further example a praiseworthy article in the Independent on the day Sir Alex called it a day, it was a fabulous tribute, beautifully written, covering the key points of his tutelage at our great club.

    The top comment of the article was: ” I heard shares of Wrigleys spearmint gum are set to plummet.” You wonder why people don’t comment as much now on articles?

    I can as I’m not without humour see the funny side of this, but it’s designed to ridicule the whole context of the article, and mock the other serious posters.
    Trying to thank Sir Alex for his contributions to our great club over his almost 27 years at United.
    As I was trying to convey on United Rant the other day (I was not in a great mood )
    when posting sadly, articles like this one fly under the radar are not mainstream, massaging supporters fantasies of speculative transfer talk.

    Sir Alex Ferguson was my hero, he will always be, it’s all I have ever known at United.

    I mean no malaise to David Moyes at all naturally, that’s not the United way, but he has an almost impossible job to follow the boss. In so many – many ways.
    I feel for him I truly do Moyes, particularly with the start in the fixtures he has been given, two defeats on the trot in the first 5 games the knifes will be drawn as they are already sharpened with his changes of the back – room staff at United.
    I know he has to stamp his authority on the club, but in my opinion slowly slowly catches the monkey. The Tortoise and the Hare spring to mind, with a 6 year contract at United. He must not give the media brickbats for them to hit it him with, which he possibly has done with axing key members of the backroom staff.

    As the article displays some journalists are just armed, have a platform and are more than keen and primed like a coiled spring to knock the football club, it’s goals, history and icon’s.
    That’s the way it is.
    The media in general as we know just not Glanville like nothing better than to bring the club down and aim to derail its mission.

    We as United supporters are going to have to all pull together more than ever next season as the ABU’s are preparing as sure night turn’s into day. As our Tartan noire Red Devil has left the football club apparently leaving the United ship – rudderless.

    Not a cat in hells chance, unless we want it to be that way!
    Can you imagine David Moyes in the dug – out at Old Trafford looking up at the Sir Alex Ferguson stand, every single game. That’s pressure to perform and the legacy he has left staring down at our new boss.

    As Sir Alex said on his farewell speech at Old Trafford to us fan’s ” Our Job is to get behind our new manager.” That’s the level of Sir Alex always thinking about what is best for United, selfless,setting the seeds in our heads for the future of the club.

    David Moyes has to deal with the divisive issue of Wayne Rooney, that’s a critical chapter about to be played out and under the media microscope.
    This is where Moyes will clearly find the huge difference to his time at Everton the magnifying glass glare that he will under and his actions and decisions, that he makes can and will come back to haunt him.
    A grasp of the political game and couching your words carefully will be David Moyes best and vital asset to have in his early tenure at the club. With council ( privately)with Sir Alex still in the background he can’t be provided with a greater fountain of knowledge and more than ‘ pearls of wisdom ‘. Surely not a repeat of Sir Matt and Wilf McGuinness. No – but time is of the essence and a commodity that is in short supply in this day and age of hire and fire culture.
    Can we United supporters accept a step backwards to jump forward, with the fickle nature of the support? Funnily enough only time will tell. Exciting times ahead and who can hold their resolve that the club have chosen the correct man to lead the forward. A Unanimous decision by the football club, to think anything else is; shoot in foot, big time.

    I read four – four – two and United magazines, I may well revisit World Soccer.
    You are not on a back hander from World Soccer are you Doron? 🙂

    Great article and no transfer talk, tisk tisk. You will burn in hell for that Doron. 🙂

  2. @RedScot – I’d add that none of us who contribute to this blog, write anything to “attract readers” – we all do it for the fun of it and for the fun of discussing United. If one person or one million people read it makes no difference.

  3. What Agenda? You clearly are incapable of reading what I posted.
    If you read: which you clearly can’t I said “Transfer talk” attracts readers.
    Can you see now why people don’t post on sites like this?
    Taken out of context much.
    Have a great day, but try to read what people post it is fairly basic.
    I was simply giving some detail as examples.
    Remember I am writing of the cuff, not having sat down for possibly an hour or so to create the article.
    I promise you this, you are not better than me at writing quickly concisely and with relevance.
    I don’t suffer fools gladly.

  4. @RedScot – the agenda is that for some reason you’ve chosen to address me for something I’ve not written. To answer your questions/statements:

    If you read: which you clearly can’t I said “Transfer talk” attracts readers.

    Like I’ve said, we don’t post to attract readers, we post about things that interest us. Why simply bother regurgitating the BBC’s gossip column? That’s not the point of a blog

    Can you see now why people don’t post on sites like this?

    Plenty of people read this blog and some choose to comment. Fortunately, we set no targets and just enjoy posting whether people comment or not.

    Remember I am writing of the cuff, not having sat down for possibly an hour or so to create the article.
    I promise you this, you are not better than me at writing quickly concisely and with relevance.

    This isn’t a competition, you may well be better than me at writing but that’s neither something that bothers me as I write for a hobby and nor is this a piece I’ve written. It’s ‘off the cuff’ by the way whilst you’re talking about writing.

    I don’t suffer fools gladly.

    Feel free to keep contributing in the comments sections but coming on here to write that we aren’t writing about ‘popular’ topics seems a waste of your time.

  5. I really don’t want to waste my time or yours on this.
    I have better things to think about.
    Let me explain; you solicit views on the article, whoever penned the piece.
    I provided a response as I saw appropriate for the ‘ confused ‘ piece.
    You whoever you are attempted to ridicule me by this ‘ agenda ‘ nonsense.
    I asked you a simple ? what agenda.
    If you don’t want people to post make that abundantly clear.
    As far as I’m concerned you wont hear from me again.
    I saw you at this type of thing before, I have a great memory. I recall a lad Pat Rice’s chewing gum or something similar you gave him short – sharp – rift also.
    You should embrace people who debate the points not piss them off.
    A blog is about views and as the article said ” Everyone is entitled to their opinion”.
    As I said if I cared, which I basically don’t but that’s my Scottish nature.
    If you care to read the ‘Newsnow’ articles today a little post on Marco Van Ginkel the Dutch 20 year old player, being ‘ reported ‘ as signing for Chelsea.
    Last Sunday I wrote over 1000 words on the self same player on someone else’s site: 101 Great Goals.
    Currently I’m in limbo regards a blog to contribute my articles to.
    Which hopefully will be addressed by the time the new season kicks into gear.
    Then we shall see who can write with detail and knowledge of World Soccer!
    As ever good luck.
    Keep it Real; Keep it United.
    Scots lads fight there corner I’m not in the habit of posting and then just f***ing off.
    No hard feelings this to me is all about the ethic of a blog.
    I take all posters for what they are and enjoy the comments, even in dats de biz type mobile phone text chat.
    If you read the post again it’s a fun comment, tinged with humour and provocative to make people think.
    Which clearly fell on deaf ears.
    Bon Nuit.:)

  6. @RedScot

    I put the article together as I thought it would spark a decent discussion. I’m unsure as to whether or not you like the article or not? It sounds like, correct me if I’m wrong, the point you’re trying to make is that Glanville put together a controversial article to receive hits and I’ve fallen into the trap of highlighting this. Am I right or wrong?

    Glanville is a well known and respected journalist. The purpose if the blog was to try and explain that I found it odd that in his, most probably, final piece on Sir Alex Ferguson – 75% was negative. Surely, the 26 and a half years had more positives than negatives?

    As Doron said, we want to put blogs out there that people will enjoy and engage with. “Thiago signs for United” may get but hits, but who cares. 🙂

  7. Wrong the point I was raising, it wont receive the amount of reads it should do!
    If you read what I posted, carefully.
    I said the article was a good one, possibly too much detail, but that’s not my concern.
    It will fly under the radar of what is read as it doesn’t feature ‘ transfer talk’.
    Which commands much greater attention.
    Jaysus wept we are going round and round in circles here.
    If I mention as I did Saboteurs in my post, do you then think I would criticise the messenger who wrote the article? It’s not the way I think at all. The opposite.
    I might rip into the detail of the article, the facts, but never the messenger, the person who wrote the article. There is too much of that sh*t on United sites.
    Name calling etc, been there done it, moved on from that.
    I sometimes think I am in a parallel universe when I post comments.
    Did nobody see the smiley’s they are showing fun thinking.
    I really am bored to tears with this and away to call the Samaritans.
    Or guzzle 3 bottles of Buckfast to give me strength to keep going.:)
    Doron I said Sir Alex was my hero did I not ?
    As I said in my post you are going to get people who go out of their way to cause confusion and by being provocative create attention for themselves and notoriety.
    Do you know the difference between monotone and colourful.
    One is dull grey and no pitch. The other colourful as in flamboyant and a tapestry of variety.
    Glanville is being aggressive to create argument and stir up the natives.
    You me, all United supporters.
    Some of us just don’t bite the lines that are baited, to reel us in! 🙂

  8. My final point and the last on here forever.
    Funnily I was the only United supporter that picked up the article read it, posted my possibly cheeky view.
    Who cares, I dealt with it the way I felt appropriate at the time.
    I don’t go a bundle on transfer talk, that will sort it’s self out.
    When David Moyes takes up the reigns on the 1st of July and when he announces his intentions on return from the States. Which will be fascinating and no doubt illuminating for the future.
    I couldn’t give a flying frig about likely signings or not.
    I can’t influence it what he does, nor nothing else at the football club.
    What I care about is Manchester United and the hard facts at the club.
    Transfer talk to me is like having a live snake in your sleeping bag, you can’t trust it, pin it down or grasp it. It changes from day to day depending on what magic mushrooms some journalist has been savouring, and then comes up with player XY or Z that the nodding copy – writer blogs then reproduce slavishly for us fans to allegedly, salivate over. Dining on the scraps of some journalists ideas of what suits United.
    When there is only one person that really matters that is the manager of the club, and his vision for the future.
    Goodbye. 🙂

  9. Jeez! so many twisted panties!! Being a daily reader of the many united blogs and Guardian, I have to say that it is not just the blogs i am looking forward to but the regulars among who redscot is one who comment on these blogs. I don’t see the need to take any umbrage on what I thought were well made points. On the other hand, pissy fans are always good entertainment!

  10. @ Elvido Hi mate you will remember me possibly from Red Rants. I used to post on there prior to Ian taking over the forum. I still read it when I can.
    The pissy fans is the nature of communicating now, don’t read the blog through fully.
    Although it is difficult on wallpaper blogs, where you can’t reply to an individual poster.
    I aim to be entertaining. Although I have a caustic way about my posts to create argument and inspire debate.
    For me and what I find the best fun, is not the transfer nonsense at the football club, it’s to be able and capable to stick up for the great players we have at the club.
    Obviously if I had a settled forum that I could provide articles for, I wrote articles for Truly Reds ( Guest writer ) and Stretty News, Dale O’Donnell under my name Ian.
    But I was apparently not good enough.
    Although as I said previously I’m hoping to get a link up with another United site that asked just recently for new writers for the beginning of next season.
    I hope to provide the site, match day – previews, behind enemy lines interviews( my speciality) and some fun stuff and accounting information.
    Sharp as a tack on figures and data involving finance.
    Like a good Scots lad, zips in my trousers and know my pennies from my pounds so to speak.
    It’s better to have fun and take the comments in the correct way after all we are all United supporters, just trying to keep a forum moving along.
    Opss I said I would not post again, bad of me or what! 🙂
    Cya. Truly.

  11. @ Redscot, guess the writers/authors on these fan blogs become the communication stand in for fans that want to have a say about what they feel wrt united. It works both ways, sometimes you say what we want to hear and sometimes we don’t. As long as you can accept that you should write publicly, the day you can’t, comment like the rest of us! Cheers mate and good luck!

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