End of an Era?

So the longest serving manager in European football is to retire.

(This apparently will leave Ronnie McFall of Portadown as the holder of that accolade, at least according to The Belfast Telegraph. There is nothing so good for a newspaper as a local slant to news.)

SrAlec’s tenure at Manchester United has certainly been a fruitful one. He has amassed a haul of trophies unlikely ever to be matched.

But how much of a turning point will this be for the club, though? Especially as he will be hanging around behind the scenes.

When Matt Busby stepped down to be replaced by Wilf McGuiness things were never the same again, probably partly becasue Busby was still hovering in the background.

It is of course an honourable thing for the club not to discard its loyal employees when their main use has been superseded but there are dangers here. United went into a sharp decline (which arguably had already started under Busby) and were relegated to the second tier a few years later, from which they quickly bounced back up.

However, it took till Fergie arrived over 20 years later for the really good times to roll around once more.

It seems David Moyes is the favoured replacement. Good timing, with him being out of contract at Everton in a few weeks.

Moyes has done an incredible job at Everton with little in the way of resources by comparison with Man U. If he is offered and accepts the job he is probably a strong enough character not to feel overshadowed by Ferguson but what if results should fall off? Will he be given the same slack from fans and board that Ferguson has enjoyed when first Arsenal and then Chelsea and lately Manchester City threatened to become top dog in English football?

It most likely won’t happen but I wonder what odds you’d get on United being in the Championship in four or so years time?

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