Sir Alex: Football, bloody hell!

IBNLive Blog - May 09, 2013

The greatest manager in world football finally bid adieu to the game in his own inimical style. Contrarian to his aggressive on field personality, the announcement arrived via an official statement at around 9am on the 8th of May 2013 in a subdued manner.The news spread like wildfire and United fans and football lovers across the world were in shock yet were in awe of the great man. Needless to say, his presence has left a vacuum on the minds of the millions of fans across the planet.

As I sat over at work wondering about the news, numerous flash points went through my head. Since I have been following the game for a long time, I traced a journey through the years and wondered how everlasting he has been. From my early teens, I have been following Manchester United and at every stage of watching football, the only constant figure at United was the man himself. The Beckham's, the Nistelrooy's, and theScholes come and go, no one has been as omnipresent as he has. As such, a reaction to his retirement was a trip down nostalgia on the times under his era.

I recall the Treble night in 1999. It was one of the most fascinating nights in United's history. On a nervy night at the NouCamp, Fergie played Ryan Giggs on the right with Fortune on the left (if I am not wrong) since both Keane andScholes were suspended. The clock ticked by with seconds left on the clock. Beckham takes a corner, whips it in,even Schemiechel comes out, Sheringham latches onto it, GOAL!Beckham whips one more curler in, Sheringham flicks and the superb Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thunders in with his right foot. The world for a moment changed and the red half of Manchester across the world erupted in joy.

As the new millennium unfolded, the challenges were aplenty. The arrival of Jose Mourinho was probably the biggest challenge that he had while at Old Trafford, even more than Wenger, and there was a time when United went almost three seasons without winning the League. The resilient Scot dug deep, rebuilt the squad with patience and mounted a superb challenge to get back to the top. This top reached its pinnacle on the glorious Champions League final night at Moscow. Into the wee hours of the morning in Asia, I was rubbing my eyes at around 5 am to witness one of the greatest nights in European football. The team, which was one of the strongest in recent memory with Rooney and Ronaldo in the side, won on a pulsating penalty shoot out with brilliant goal keeping by Edwin Van Der Sar. I was screaming over the phone to my friends across different places in the world at that time. My mind swings back to those days; days when we were spellbound by the magic of the old man. The beauty is that at any point of time, for people who follow the club, the thought of the club always runs at the back of the mind. Such memorable nights orchestrated by the great man produce moments that are priceless for the fan who is thousands of miles away cheering for a team based continents away.

Besides these victories, there were those victories at Juventus in Turin in 1999 (the fightback led by Roy Keane), the recent 1-0 victory over Barcelona at Old Trafford with the Paul Scholes thunderbolt, the magical fightback from United 3-0 down at half time to Spurs to win the game 5-3, the Champions League away victory at Arsenal and those innumerable last moment finishes throughout his career. They signified the relentless self belief that he drives in his players, come what may they never give up.

Much has been written about his legacy and his trophies, probably the biggest testimony to his greatness is his longevity. To put things in perspective, he started his tenure at United almost 3 years before Sachin Tendulkar played for India. Through the period, he had that relentless desire to achieve and evolve according to the tune of the day. He broke down almost 4 squads, reassembled them with youngsters and most importantly, brought trophies to the cabinet. His philosophy of the team as more of a family and the club more as a monastery which abides by tradition, Ferguson displayed an amazing amount of vision, charisma and instilled a deep desire in every member of his team. He had critics but who doesn't have one? Even his fiercest critics would not argue with the fact that he is probably the greatest manager the world has ever seen.

On that magical night in Barcelona after United's last minute triumph, Ferguson responded in style to a question posed to him. Much like that answer, his exit at the club in a very quiet and unexpected manner has created a vacuum and awe from the fans and well wishers alike. Much like what Ferguson had said, it is "Football- Bloody Hell!"

Sir Alex Ferguson- Inspiration and Respect (893 wins, 337 draws, 267 losses, 26 years, 38 trophies, 13 league titles, 2ChampionsLeagues, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups and One piece of Chewing Gum!)

Watch: The famous night at Barcelona after the Champions League win in 1999!

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