Has Ferguson cracked?

Last updated : 13 May 2004 By Brian Dawes

Ferguson - He's lost the plot
You can't help feeling that any other manager with any other track record would be searching the jobs vacant columns by now after such a bizarre and farcical series cock-ups at Old Trafford this season.

Ok so Ronaldo and Saha were good purchases, not exactly the type of bargain basement find unearthed by the mighty Wenger, but good value for money for all that and tasty performers to boot. They may not have paid back their fees just yet but certainly look capable of doing so. With a decided lack of quality youths coming through United's stunted production line, other than Fletcher where the jury is still out, Manure's boss has gone for a number of big buys in the past couple of seasons but has been very badly burned in the transfer market. Kleberson, Djemba-Djemba, Bellion and Forlan have hardly set the world on fire in fact they have hardly been capable of setting a matchstick ablaze. Either Fergusmoan is looking to bolster his reserve side or more probably he may already have given up on these failures. Veron was a bad lose-making joke as was subsequently confirmed by Chelski. Ferdinand was over priced but was certainly a good purchase. Mind you he would have been so much more effective if United had thought to purchase his clearly optional brain cell, failing that they should have at least given the divot a personal shopping assistant.

Like many a megalomaniac once Fergie lost it he lost it big time. Selling Beckham because his Scottish ego could not handle someone at the club being so much bigger than himself has already gone down as a folly far worse than flogging Jaap Stam or indeed replacing Stam with Laurent Blanc. The Beckham saga of course stemmed from a disagreement as to whether Fergusmaon or Beckham had been made to look the biggest **** in a match that United lost at home to Arsenal, they disagreed and so Fergie put the boot in to conclude his argument. How strange that Arsenal may have been the unwitting catalysts to such an eye opening event?

After this season's visit to Old Trafford the media claimed at the time that it was Arsenal whom had lost the plot. But just how crucial was that penalty miss by van Diver? It was the closest we've come to losing all season long. Since Lehmann's bar rattled from the spot the amazing diving horse has turned into an old nag and done nothing since. Nothing that is other than upset Fergie with his ‘we're missing Beckham' comments, for which he was benched. Correct me if I'm wrong but is Fergusmoan the only person in the entire footballing world, including many of his players, who doesn't think United have missed Beckham?

New boy Saha fell for a journalistic wind up by comparing Henry extremely favourably with van Diver to the obvious pleasure of everyone at the Library. While at the THOF Arsene, as ever, has run verbal rings around the old purple-nosed Jock. But then looking stupid has been United's forte this season, they probably peaked in their absurdity with that ridiculous war of words with the F A over the failed drugs test. When the bombastic dictators at OT tried to get Ferdinand absolved from his stupidity they went about it the worst way possible manner. The player was dumb, the Clubs lawyers inept, the management self-righteous, the excuses pitiful and United's general attitude was a perfect blue print of how to make a terribly silly and self-inflicted situation far worse than it need have been. How sad and foolish did they look, and how much credibility did a club of such stature lose? Not only nationally but internationally. Failing drugs a test, it seems, is an acceptable thing to do according to the gospel of ManU. Pathetic or what?

Going to war with major shareholders over disputed stud fees was possibly the entertainment wheeze of the season. Who else but Fergusmoan would be thick enough to attempt to bite the hands of the money-men who own the club who employ him? Inflated ego or what? Thankfully for our amusement his ego knew no bounds and this internal tiff was par for the course, the race course as it happens. The side joke was that disillusioned United fans seemingly thought they have some sort of say in the club, the poor disillusioned fools. They showed this by their unswerving support for the old megalomaniac against the Irish Racing Mafia. Now loyalty is always laudable, but surely they will find out just what a bit part the fans are really deemed to play when Ferguson is eventually replaced with a Plc yes man. Ferguson's humiliation by Magnier and McManus was certainly an enjoyable interlude and it ran long enough to give us all a good laugh.

Almost as funny as when their COE Peter Kenyon, an alleged life-long fan of United, packed his bags for more money at the Russian Mafia's bidding. Sent on gardening leave by the United he eventually returned to the limelight with stupid statements at the Bridge of Sighs. Meanwhile United's new supremo merely stamped his feet and claimed that, despite their abject failure on the pitch, United were still the biggest club. So very well done United, if making money in the Far East is what your club is all about, you are undoubtedly world-beaters. But so ****ing what, does that impress football fans or do trophies? Anyone at OT want to bet me that your shirt sales peaked about a season or so ago and that they are now on a continuous downward spiral? Shirt sales follow a trophy haul and United dumped their top salesman in Madrid. Let's see now ‘Henry 14' or ‘Cheat 10' or ‘Beckham 23' who will be selling the least shirts around Europe this summer do we think?

I'll pass on the saga of bunce for the Fergie family agents, but such skullduggery elsewhere would have seen many a Club of integrity show someone the door. With everything around him going tits upward, and no doubt because he began to feel like an outcast in his own home, Fergie finally installed another aging Jock as his deputy but absolutely nothing has improved or changed as a result. And do you wonder, as I do, quite why the turnover of assistant managers and coaches at OT has accelerated with every additional year of Fergie's reign? No connection with the blue-nosed one loosing his marbles surely?

Yes United did knock Arsenal out of the Cup, but that was where their season peaked, and even this was a close run thing against a tired team who should perhaps have focused elsewhere. Since that match they've flopped down to third place and quite frankly unless Ferguson taps up some stupendous players during Euro 2004 I reckon that's the best they can hope for next season. Will the Plc continue to allow him to throw what they obviously consider to be their money and not his down the drain? Would any Plc in their right mind continue to trust a manger who picks Philip Neville for a key role in midfield after spending millions of pounds on abject failures who should have been playing in that very position?

United's hopes for the 2003-4 season have been whittled down to bagging a trophy they didn't deem worthy to enter a few years back. It's a nice day out at Cardiff but little more than that. It's a pot to piss in alright but there was a time when the bookies would have closed the book on a win against Millwall. As it stands now the lowly no-hopers that no-one loves are quoted at a mere 5-1 to win the Famous old trophy. I suspect that many a Gooner or Blue Manc may fancy a punt at such odds. Dichio for Millwall will miss the final due to an F A ban. Scholes should also be missing the final for an obvious second yellow against Chelski - but of course he won't. Thanks to referee Bennett pathetically kowtowed to United, as he did when he awarded a dubious penalty for the stumbling Forlan against Arsenal last September. Which suggests, if nothing else, that despite all the cracks in United's armour they still have ‘homers' working for them for 90 minutes, or however long it takes to get a result.

United are still a bigger club financially than anyone else, but so what. At one time their manager was undoubtedly the best in the world, his record may never be surpassed, but this season they've flirted on and off all season with being a laughing stock. Ferguson will still put out a decent team next season but with his funding they ought to be world-beaters, a domestic third place is tantamount to abject failure. They've wallowed in Arsene Wenger's wake in 2003-4 and I now consider Ferguson's continued presence at Old Trafford to be an indirect asset for Arsenal, so far is the purple-nosed has-been from his glorious former peak.

So it looks like we could be having two horse race next season as Chelski, whoever their overspending new manager might be, will certainly be having another £100 million crack at winning their 2nd. championship in 100 years. On the championship issue United still have far more class than Chelski, but they no longer have a dynamic manager and he certainly won't survive another season as third fiddle. The in-fighting at Old Trollop could be a great spectator sport next season.