Archive for the ‘Sir Alex Ferguson’ tag
Arsene Wenger last man standing in the insane managerial merry-go-round of the English Premier League
When Manchester United’s legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson shocked planet football with the sudden announcement of his retirement it was the end of the world as we know it for a generation of fans. But the subsequent departures of Roberto Mancini at rivals City and yesterday’s dismissal of Stoke City’s Tony Pulis has completed an unbelievable change in the Premier League landscape over the past season.
A total of 10 managers have left their job since the start of the 2012/2013 season . . . and long-serving Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is the only manager left who has been in the hot seat at a Premier League club more than three years.
It is just one of a staggering set of statistics that highlight how insane the world of football management has become in England.
Guessing who will be in charge at Premiership clubs at the start of next season has become one of the biggest talking points in the game – a dream scenario for the bookmakers. www.freebets.org.uk
Since Wenger last won a trophy in May 2005, every one of the other 91 Premier League and Football League clubs has changed their manager at least once. In fact, since Wenger took charge at Highbury back in the pre-Emrirates days of October 1996, those same 91 clubs have had a total of 838 different managers, according to figures in today’s Daily Mail.
Becks retirement: Iconic football legend David Beckham deserves his special place in history of the beautiful game
There is no player in the history of the game who has done more to promote English football than David Beckham. And his retirement at the age of 38 will trigger tributes from around the world because his contribution to the sport has been unique.
Icon, celebrity, legend, superstar, ambassador. No one can bend it like Beckham. And no-one has given back so much to the beautiful game.
He may not be the greatest footballer who ever played the game. But Becks represents something special. Throughout his career he has made the most of his incredible talent, consistently revelled in proving the critics wrong when they have tried to write him off and brought glamour, dignity and pride to representing his country and a glittering array of the world’s most famous football clubs.
At Old Trafford he starred in the team that won an unprecedented Treble in 1999. But when Manchester United sold him to Real Madrid in 2003 after his infamous fall-out with his mentor and father-figure Sir Alex Ferguson, Becks was being outshone by a galaxy of stars.
It has been the same in Madrid, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris and during his long and illustrious England career. But there is no footballer who has worked harder to make the most of his god given talent, to defy the critics who regularly tried to write him off or to win over the fans who did not always love him.
There is no greater measure of the man than the way he turned around the obscene hatred he endured after being sent off in the 1998 World Cup for petulantly kicking out in that epic quarter-final defeat by Argentina.
The way he singled-handedly dragged England to the 2002 World Cup with an unbelievable performance in the decisive qualifying match against Greece was the stuff of legend, crowned by his remarkable injury time free-kick that completed the journey from villain of 98 to glorious hero.
Born on 2 May 1975, David Robert Joseph Beckham made his name playing for his boyhood heroes Manchester United. As a youngster he attended one of Bobby Charlton’s football schools in Manchester and won the chance to take part in a training session at FC Barcelona. After trials with Leyton Orient, Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur, he became part of a famous group of youngsters who won the FA Youth Cup for Manchester United in May 1992.
He went on loan to Preston in 1994/95 before returning to Old Trafford and making his Premier League debut for Manchester United in a goal-less draw against Leeds United on 2 April 1995. At United he went on to win six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the European Champions League with United in that famous Treble-winning year of 1999.
In 2003 he signed for Real Madrid where he spent four years winning the La Liga championship in his final season before joining LA Galaxy. His five-year spell in America included a mid-season loan spell with AC Milan in 2009. He finally left the States to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2013 where he bows out at the top after winning the French League.
Beckham’s international career saw him win 115 caps for England between 1996 and 2009, including six years as captain. Twice runner-up for the FIFA World Player of the Year, he was the world’s highest-paid footballer in 2004 when his commercial earnings boosted his salary at Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo guaranteed hero’s welcome on return to Old Trafford but Manchester United fans know he must be stopped
Lionel Messi has been voted FIFA’s world player of the year for the past four season. But there is no doubt in my mind that Cristiano Ronaldo is even more valuable to Real Madrid than the little Argentinian is to Barcelona. How Manchester United deal with their former idol will determine the outcome of Tuesday night’s Champions League decider at Old Trafford.
On the evidence of the first match in the Bernabeu, there is one man who stands head and shoulders above the rest of his team. And that tells you how good he is, because Real Madrid are one of the strongest sides on the planet.
The truth is that Ronaldo is an even better player now than he was when he left Manchester shortly after being recognised as the best player in the world when he received his one and only Ballon d’Or to date.
It is baffling that the Madrid fans have not always shown Portugal’s finest the love and respect he deserves, despite averaging more than a goal-a-game since he signed in 2009 for £80m. United fans would take him back in an instant and he is still adored in Manchester which makes his return to Old Trafford the most eagerly awaited football match at the Theatre of Dreams for many years.
Robin van Persie is the new talisman in Sir Alex Ferguson’s current squad and at times this season the inspirational summer signing from Arsenal has been out of this world. Many have billed this tie as a head-to-head between CR7 and RvP. There is every chance the Dutchman will deliver the magic that ends Jose Mourinho’s dream of making Madrid champions of Europe at Wembley in May. But there is a big difference in my mind between the pivotal roles of these opposing superstars.
Ronaldo is the one player in Madrid’s star studded team who could genuinely rip United to pieces almost single-handedly. He is that good and that important to the Spanish hopes of success in the biggest club competition in world football. Stop Ronaldo and United will fancy their chances of reaching the quarter-finals. That is why Mourinho left him out of the first half of today’s La Liga clash with Barcelona.But Real still conquered Barca and Messi for the second time in five days. That tells you all you need to know about the challenge facing United.
Van Persie on the other hand is brilliant and has stepped up another level since he arrived in Manchester in the summer. But the strength of this United side is far greater than one man and it is the unity and dynamics of the team that makes Fergie’s side special. Wayne Rooney still has the ability to terrorise opposition. Michael Carrick is playing the best football of his career. Rafael is getting better with every game. While anyone who writes off Ryan Giggs had better beware. Giggsy is destined to make his 1,000 career appearance against Madrid.And wouldn’t it be just priceless if the Welsh wizard stole the limelight.
‘World would be a boring place without Paddy Crerand’ – don’t miss this remarkable feature-length tribute to unique football legend
There is no one in football quite like Paddy Crerand – and this weekend Manchester United fans around the world will enjoy a fascinating and revealing insight into the life of one of the club’s most colourful personalities when my long-awaited documentary ‘Paddy 50 Years’ premieres on MUTV.
Signed by Matt Busby for £56,000 on 6 February 1963, the kid from the Gorbals was the Paul Scholes of his generation and enjoyed a pivotal role in a hugely successful side that became the first English winners of the European Cup.
Now one of the club’s most fanatical supporters, Paddy has re-invented himself as an outspoken football pundit and has his own show on the club’s TV Channel. His recent radio rant that followed the Manchester derby – when contributors to BBC 5Live Breakfast blamed Rio Ferdinand for inciting the crowd and being hit by a coin – trended worldwide on twitter.
It was an insanely funny piece of radio that re-inforced his cult status with United’s current stars and skipper Patrice Evra says: “The players all love Paddy.” Not that this was the first time that he has vented his fury on radio in his uniquely passionate style to defend a Red Devil. Guess who was dominating the airwaves in support of Eric Cantona after his infamous kung-fu attack on abusive Crystal Palace fan Matthews Simmons back in 1995?
This Glasgow-born Celt of Irish descent is a fascinating character adored by his fans, friends and family alike because he is a man of the people who speaks his mind and is fervently loyal. Sent off six times, he insists he never started a fight but always finished it. And yet, behind that tough-tackling, tough-talking exterior, is a man with a heart of gold.
There are many fascinating chapters in the life of the 73-year-old who briefly dabbled in coaching and management after hanging up his boots. While his passion for politics famously saw him act as a peacemaker between the IRA and his old friend John Hume back in the seventies. Then there was his spell as a pub landlord when the likes of Bryan Robson, Paul McGrath, Alan Brazil, Norman Whiteside and Kevin Moran were his regulars.
“The world would be a boring place without Paddy Crerand,” declares Brian Kidd, who used to clean the Scottish international’s boots when he started out as an apprentice at Old Trafford. Kiddo, of course, is now Roberto Mancini’s assistant at rivals Manchester City. But he remains a close friend and is one of the stars of our feature-length documentary tribute to the United legend.
It is a film laced with tragedy as well as triumph and I expect a few tears will be shed when viewers share Paddy’s emotional trip down memory lane that begins with the Second World War when his father was killed by a German bomb.
When Paddy finally signed for United from his boyhood heroes Celtic, it was the start of a golden era that saw Matt Busby’s men win the FA Cup, two league Championships and the 1968 European Cup in a remarkable five year spell. “I’d only been at United three months when we beat Leicester City 3-1 in the Cup Final at Wembley,” says our hero, who lined up against Frank McLintock, a player he’d previously faced in schools football back in their Gorbals days.
It was a decade when George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton became the iconic names at Manchester United. All three were European footballers of the Year. But Paddy was the outstanding half-back who made Busby’s team tick.
Nobby Stiles, who reverted to a more defensive role when Crerand arrived, says: “For me Paddy signing was the best thing that ever happened because it meant I moved back alongside Bill Foulkes, which was my best position.”
In the documentary, Sir Alex Ferguson and his brother Martin both talk about their memories of Paddy in the early days. Martin worked with Paddy in the shipyard before he signed for Celtic, and talks about how they used to play football at lunchtime in steel toe-capped boots. Sir Alex recalls Paddy playing junior football for Duntocher Hibs and likes to remind everyone that Celtic were beaten 4-nil by Rangers in Paddy’s final game north of the border.
The biggest accolade comes from Denis Law who told me: “Paddy was one of the best midfield players Scotland ever had.” Now that is some tribute from my good friend the Lawman who many of us regard as the greatest Scottish player of them all.
To fully appreciate what I am talking about you will have to watch the documentary and I am proud to say that my script has been brought to life by the narration of Bernard Hill, the Hollywood actor who starred in Lord of the Rings and Titanic.
‘Paddy 50 Years’ premieres exclusively this weekend on MUTV.
Watch primetime at 9pm on Sunday, February 3, or catch one of the repeat showings. You can sign up for MUTV at manutd.com/joinmutv or call 08708 486888. ‘Paddy 50 Years’ is produced, directed & scripted by John Gubba.
— john gubba (@johnnielegend) February 3, 2013
You are truly a legend @patcrerand . One of a kind, hilarious, incredibly biased but don’t we just love it! The 50 Years show was brilliant
— Craig Nunn (@CraigNunn10_14) February 3, 2013
Just watching a documentary celebrating @patcrerand 50 years at United. Brilliant stuff
— waz (@wazmcr13) February 3, 2013
Paddy Crerand documentary on MUTV. Absolutely brilliant. Thought Paddy could not go any higher in my estimation. I was wrong. Legend. #mufc
— JOHN LUDDEN (@JOHNLUDDS) February 3, 2013
— Vijay Kara (@VijayKara1) February 2, 2013
@johnnielegend 50 years wot a legend Paddy is KRO
— paul collins (@gabbiecabbie) February 2, 2013
Also thanks to everyone at MUTV, but special thanks to John Gubba who Im sure i drove mental. Well done John excellence
— Paddy Crerand (@PatCrerand) February 2, 2013
Whether or not it was cynical ploy to discredit Mark Clattenburg, why Chelsea will almost certainly find themselves in the dock
When it comes to tackling racism, Chelsea Football Club have a lot to learn – but that is not the reason there is a feeling within the game that the Premier League leaders have overstepped the mark in the Mark Clattenburg saga.
By destroying the reputation of one of the most experienced officials in the game with accusations that appear to be backed up by little evidence – and more than a suggestion of sour grapes after losing at home to Manchester United – the West London club have not only once again trashed football’s image, but their actions will have consequences.
Arsene Wenger was first to question the way Chelsea publicly accused the referee of racially abusing John Obi Mikel during Sunday’s 3-2 defeat by declaring the accusations should have been dealt with privately. And Sir Alex Ferguson has weighed in by stating he is “convinced” the official is innocent
United’s boss insisted: “I don’t believe Mark Clattenburg would make any comments like that. I refuse to believe it. I think it is unthinkable in the modern climate. I just don’t believe it – simple as that. There is no way a referee would stoop to that, I am convinced of that.”
It has also emerged that Mikel and the Blues’ manager Roberto di Matteo allegedly breached protocol by storming into the referee’s room immediately after the match in which Clattenburg sent off two Chelsea players. Under FA rules, there has to be a 30-minute “cooling down” period after a game. There can be little doubt their hasty reaction was fuelled by a sense of injustice.
A cynic would suggest the West London club have deliberately sidelined the referee, who has been stood down from officiating this weekend, because of their displeasure at the decisions he made in the dramatic contest that saw United inflict the home side’s first Premier League defeat of the season.
With all the other match officials who were able to hear the mic’d up ref dismissing Chelsea’s claims, it is hard to see where any evidence will come from that will condemn Clattenburg. In the meantime, the 37-year-old’s reputation has arguably been damaged beyond repair and, as any lawyer will tell you, Chelsea’s failure to prove their allegations will surely dictate that the official must sue for libel.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are already in the dock after one of their own supporters was pictured appearing to make a monkey gesture at Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck during the midweek League Cup game. And the club is still defending themselves over their handling of the John Terry affair, refusing to strip their captain of the armband after he received a four match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
As for Blues boss Di Matteo, his response to the criticism from Wenger and Ferguson has been to declare: ‘It’s a free country where everybody has the freedom of speech. We’ll take into consideration what other people say and use it as a motivational tool for ourselves.’ What he may fail to realise is that many of their opponents will be driven by a desire to punish them for their selfish actions.
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He deserved to be replaced by Robin van Persie – but don’t make the mistake of writing off Wayne Rooney
It is a cruel blow for his publishers that Wayne Rooney’s new book is coming out while he is sidelined by injury and Manchester United’s summer signing Robin van Persie. But do not make the mistake of writing off Wazza.
In all honesty being dropped to the bench against Fulham last weekend was probably the wake-up call Rooney needed after some mediocre appearances both for England and Manchester United of late.
Complacency has always been a recipe for disaster in football and Sir Alex Ferguson is the master at keeping his players hungry and motivated in his relentless quest for honours.
Few managers have the confidence to leave out a star like Rooney. But that is exactly what was required because United’s talisman for the past decade has not been hitting the heights we all know he can.
What no one could have predicted was the freak injury inflicted by the collision with Hugo Rodallega that left Rooney with a horrendous gash needing surgery to stitch his leg back together. Assuming no lasting damage is done, however, I expect the battle to regain fitness and re-claim his place in the side could be just the challenge Rooney needs to get back to his best.
Questions have been asked about whether or not Rooney can fit into the same team as RVP and new playmaker Shinji Kagawa. But I have no doubts on that front and predict this trio will be terrorising the Premier League long before the end of the season.
Lionel Messi may be the favourite to win the 2011 Ballon D’Or and claim the title of the best player in the world for a third successive year – but it is testament to the progress of Portugal’s Nani that the Manchester United star is included in FIFA’s shortlist of 23.
Nani joins team-mate Wayne Rooney and Manchester City’s new hero Sergio Aguero in a list dominated by the best of Barcelona who have no fewer than eight players nominated. Former United star Cristiano Ronaldo is also included.
But it is no surprise to me that Nani has been elevated to such heights after spending the past month working on an upcoming documentary for MUTV on the kid from Cape Verde.
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The list will be reduced down to three on Dec 5 with the winner being announced in Zurich on Jan 9.
Player nominees: Eric Abidal (France), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Karim Benzema (France), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Dani Alves (Brazil), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Muller (Germany), Nani (Portugal), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Gerard Pique (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Luis Suarez (Uruguay), David Villa (Spain), Xabi Alonso (Spain), Xavi (Spain).
The English Premier League is best on the planet and football fans are so fickle – just ask Robin Van Persie and Arsene Wenger!
To all those fickle football fans out there who think one bad result or two is the end of the world, just take a look at the way Arsenal have bounced back from that 8-2 demolition by Manchester United.
Led by Robin Van Persie, the most outstanding striker of the season so far, Saturday’s remarkable 5-3 triumph at Chelsea was the Gunners’ eighth win in nine matches. So what do those ridiculous fans who were baying for the head of Arsene Wenger have to say for themselves now?
When Manchester United crashed 6-1 at home to neighbours City it was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Premier League. But does that make Sir Alex Ferguson’s men a bunch of no-hopers overnight? Of course it doesn’t – and that’s the point.
City boss Roberto Mancini won a lot of respect from United fans when he refused to crow about the way his side destroyed the Reds at Old Trafford. And the Italian knows only too well that there is a long way to go to win the toughest League in the world.
The truth is football fans in England are so lucky to have the Premier League – the most exciting and popular domestic competition on the planet. It will be fascinating to see if anyone can stop City’s mega millionaires becoming champions. But you can bet your bottom dollar there will be many more twists and turns before the destination of the silverware is decided in May.
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Whether or not John Terry is guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at QPR, it was not acceptable to see the England captain spitting venom at Rio’s younger brother in front of a worldwide TV audience.
Terry may be an inspirational figure to some of his team mates.But that does not make him fit to be a role model and captain of his country. How many times is the overhyped Chelsea skipper going to be allowed to bring shame on England? Fabio Capello made the mistake of reinstating Terry after he’d sacked him as skipper following the Wayne Bridge affair and ironically replaced him with Rio Ferdinand.
It will be interesting to see if Capello stands by his man now, whether or not Terry is found guilty by the FA. Personally I’d like to see Terry booted out for good – and he can take Capello with him. I’d rather see England lose than succeed with Capello and Terry at the helm.
Terry, who claims it has all been a “big misunderstanding” is in line to be recalled for Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal on Saturday after being left out of the midweek Carling Cup win at Everton. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police has announced it is assessing evidence from the incident after receiving a complaint.
Earlier, Ferdinand thanked fellow players for helping him cope with the situation.
“I’d like to thank players like Jason Roberts for the support they have given me,” Ferdinand told the Telegraph. ”Not just professionals at other clubs but my team-mates at QPR. They’ve been fantastic for me. Having team-mates around you, like I have, is nice to feel and nice to see.”
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Fireworks from Mario Balotelli as City prove too hot to handle – but how will Reds respond to worst ever Premier League defeat?
When Mario Balotelli accidentally set his house on fire by letting off a firework in the early hours of Saturday morning the damage was minimal. But 24 hours later the unpredictable Italian striker created the kind of havoc that will earn him cult status among Manchester City fans.
Two opening goals from Balotelli sent City on their way to a crushing 6-1 defeat of Manchester United at Old Trafford that will send shock waves not just around the Premier League, but the whole of Europe. His cheeky gesture after scoring his first was to reveal a t-shirt bearing the slogan “Why Always Me?” that will only add fuel to the adulation that Balotelli cherishes.
Whatever the impact of a red card for Jonny Evans when United trailed 1-nil early in the second half, there was no avoiding the fact that City were the worthy winners on the day. And Roberto Mancini’s men have made a powerful statement about their ability to challenge United’s supremacy and win their first Premier League title. But let’s not carried away by one bad day for United.
The team that crushed Arsenal 8-2 only a few weeks ago when they also demolished Spurs and Chelsea have not suddenly become a bad team overnight. Neither have City – outclassed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League a short while aho – suddenly become world beaters.
It is results like these that makes football the most exciting game in the world, and the Premier League the most watched competition on the planet.
The big question now is ‘How will United respond to this challenge for their title as Champions of England?’ Only at the end of the season will we have our answer.
But Sir Alex Ferguson – who conceded his side played “suicidal football” as they chased to get back into the game has already promised “there will be a response to that”.
Meanwhile, City boss Roberto Mancini, who admitted “the sending off changed everything” insisted: “We have to continue to improve – we have only played nine games. There is a long way to go”
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