Thanks for everything, Sir Alex
May 19 of this year will orphan world soccer and more specifically British football, whose club championships are expected to take a severe beating.A...
May 19 of this year will orphan world soccer and more specifically British football, whose club championships are expected to take a severe beating.A It is certainly not because of any individual's death or on-field violence or acts of hooliganism but because the most charismatic manager that was ever born for the world's most popular sport, will cease to render his role after an inconsequential match against West Brom, which, by poetic justice, would be his 1500th with one club. It will mark the day when after being the undisputed boss of Manchester United for 27 long years, Sir Alex Ferguson will step down from office and walk into the twilight once and for all. Of course, he will be around as the ambassador and director of the Club. Footballers in the city are already debating over the scenario after the 71-year-old Scot bids farewell, which, true to his flamboyant style came in just two sentences, "The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time." According to Victor Amalraj, former India captain, 'it is difficult for any one person to wield power the way Ferguson did. The most astonishing aspect is that he was a prolific motivator. Just look at the achievements when he was at the helm-38 trophies, including 13 league titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups. There will be many more charismatic managers in the future but, my own reading is that the likes of Ferguson come once in a century.' Living under the legend's shadow, David Moyes, will have one hell of a job to maintain the high standards achieved by his predecessor as a cohesive unit. However, S Tony, founder-promoter of Shastri Soccer Club, one of the oldest surviving clubs in the twin cities, sees the man in a different light when he explains 'what is the best thing about Ferguson is that as a leader he was the non-nonsensical kind. The bouts of temper bursting out of his conservative disciplinarian bent of approach actually cast a fear among the players who lifted their levels of play by several notches.' According to David Beckham, `Sir Alex has always been a father-figure for me.' This is an opinion that is echoed by several of the finest footballers emerging from England and those who played in the English League. Quite ironically, Ferguson literally booted out Beckham from the squad after an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal in February 2003. According to E Shyam, football coach with State Bank of Hyderabad, he is simply `marvelous as a leader. His man-management skills have been astonishingly result-oriented. In addition to the fatherly image, he knew when to wield the stick. This approach has yielded fascinating results and that alone matters at the end of the day.' Aleem Khan, presently a DSDO, who has nurtured football talent at Andhra Pradesh Sports School, says that 'Ferguson will be remembered for as long as football is played. He had wisdom and forethought that combined well to make Manchester United what it is today- a household name even in countries where football is not the national sport'. Meanwhile, it will be in the fitness of things to stop brooding over the post-Ferguson period despite all his tantrums and bossism that perhaps stemmed from an overwhelming streak of arrogance. Instead, as many veterans in the city opine, let us celebrate the man who was knighted in June 1999, for all those cherished moments the superstar among all stars leaves behind with his spectacularly uncanny ability to spot and produce an amazing array of extraordinary winners. Sridhar K Penna
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