By Laurie Fitzgerald
Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated an incredible 25 years in charge at Manchester United with a 1-0 win over Sunderland – his 837th win as manager of the club.
The 69 year-old was given a fitting tribute by the United hierarchy for his efforts in the last quarter of a century, with the north stand at Old Trafford renamed the Sir Alex Ferguson stand.
It’s easy to understand just why he is so renowned when you look at the trophies his teams have won during his time in charge; a staggering 37 of them, including 12 Premier League titles, five FA Cup’s, four League Cups and two Champions League triumphs.
Fergie’s success is all the more remarkable when you consider it was widely believed that he was going to be sacked way back in 1990 before they travelled to Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup third round encounter.
Many felt that defeat would have marked then end of the Scot’s reign, but a Mark Robins goal gave them a 1-0 win, they went on to win the Cup and the rest, as they say, is history.
What a history it has turned out to be - and now the biggest question that remains when looking back on Ferguson’s achievements is whether or not he will go down as the greatest manager of all time.
When measuring greatness within football management, one of the biggest factors seems to be where a club’s stature was when they took over to what it became under their guidance.
Bill Shankly took over Liverpool when they were bottom of the old Second Division, and built the club from top to bottom to create one of the biggest clubs in England, and a club now rightly regarded as one of the biggest in world football.
Sir Matt Busby had to do what no other manager has had to do and come back from the unimaginable tragedy of the Munich air disaster, and rebuild the heart of a club as well as a squad to guide them to become champions of Europe just ten years later.
Nigel Clough also took a club from the lower reaches and turn them into the best team in Europe, winning back to back European Cups with Nottingham Forest.
There are also managers that are made great in the trophies they have won to help create the history of a club that fans look back on with such pride.
The likes of Bill Nicholson, Herbert Chapman and of course Bill Paisley won many trophies with their respective clubs that makes them rightly hailed by supporters as great football managers.
Each era creates legendary bosses that either redefined or modernised British football for the better, and have all helped make the game that we love what it is today.
However, looking back on these greats of the game, many of them created one or two great sides that achieved the success that makes them so fondly remembered.
With Ferguson, he has created five or six sides that have won trophy after trophy and has never been afraid to change a team in order to create a new generation of consistent honours.
In 1995, Fergie sold the likes of Mark Hughes and Paul Ince and replaced them with ‘kids’ such as Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Nicky Butt.
These kids went on to win several titles, and it was a team that achieved European Cup success in 1999, the first time that they had been kings of the continent for over 30 years.
Ferguson took over the club with United struggling in the old first division, and the club is now regarded as one of, if not the biggest clubs on the planet.
He has also been able to move with the times; even in the era of modern day football where managers seem to be in charge of a club for about five minutes, Fergie quickly grasped an understanding of the modern-day player and has carried his success well into the 21st century.
For me and I’m sure for many other football fans, Ferguson will go down as the greatest manager that we’ll see in our lifetime. His continued success over such a long period of time is something that will probably never be repeated.
So what do you think? Will Fergie go down in history as the greatest manager of all time? Leave a comment and let us know your views.