A Question about Alex Ferguson’s role at #MUFC
The average life expectancy of Football Coaches is less than 18 months. Being out of work as a football manager is not easy, about half way down the League Manager Association website is a list of those looking for work, it makes startling reading. And yet few clubs think about support and development for their leaders, unlike in business where all aspects of professional development are routinely made available.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Ambassadors role is intriguing
One of the developments that has intrigued me in the premiership this season is Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘ambassador’s’ role within Man Utd. There has been plenty of speculation as to whether he will be tinkering in the shadows but I have never believed this. For Ferguson it has always been about the club and not him. I never heard him say anything in public to promote himself and his image, it was always for the benefit of the United.
He was the hardest manager to assess for his inspirational quality because he did it all behind the scenes. His public comments were always for the external effect he could generate, never a word wasted and none of it was personal – even if it sometimes seemed that way. Last seasons early home game vs Arsenal was remarkable for the lack of the traditional jousting with Arsene Wenger. Instead he saved it for Chelsea who at the time were the threat. He had written off Arsenal as challengers and so didn’t waste his words.
There will be more than one reason why he is taking on a behind the scenes role and I suspect one of them is to nurture the abilities of his chosen successor David Moyes.
Ferguson employed guile and an inspirational quality to rise above the crowd
I posted a few times on Moyes last season. Overall I believe he deserves respect for his personal qualities and his ability as a football manager. In my view his Achilles Heal is his somewhat dour assessment of his teams performances. There is no doubting his strength of character I just felt he lacked that little bit of guile and an inspirational quality Ferguson used to rise above the crowd.
Talking to an ardent Man Utd fan last night he said that he doesn’t think his team has been the best side in the EPL for four years and yet in that time they have won the Championship three times. We agreed that this success was down to Ferguson’s ability to inspire his players to perform at their optimum more often than their competitors. Their consistency over the long premiership campaign means they can beat more skilled but less consistent teams to the title.
Football management is a ruthless world, they are cast off quickly
Moyes isn’t ready to do this yet, a fact the astute Ferguson will not have missed. So it’s my theory Ferguson is lurking around Man Utd, not to meddle, but to coach. Coach David Moyes that is. If so it seems to be working. This weekend Man Utd suffered their first loss to arch rivals Liverpool. Moyes was as positive as I’ve heard him. Talking on BBC Sport he ignores each question and positively talks about his sides play.
This raises the wider question of developing football managers. It’s a ruthless world and they are cast off quickly if results don’t go their way. Ferguson as the longest serving EPL manager on his retirement knows more than most the value of continuity. Is he building more into his legacy at his beloved club by trying to lay the foundations for another long tenure for his successor?
If so this is a lesson others could and should learn. Support and develop your managers for the long term and reap the rewards. When you look around the Premiership there are some terrific prospects who if given the right support could have long and successful careers for their clubs and maybe we could push the average life expectancy to over 18 months.
— Mark Sheasby (@marksheasby) September 2, 2013
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