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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Legend Ends: Sir Alex Ferguson

Photo credit: London News

Few coaches in the world have ever been like Sir Alex Ferguson, the Scottish manager of the legendary English club Manchester United.  13 Premier League titles, 5 F.A. Cups, 3 League Cups, 2 UEFA Champions Leagues and 1 FIFA Club World Cup. Instead of going through his accomplishments, I will simply state my memories of this legend.

Back in the 1990s, when I didn't know much about European soccer, his Manchester United defeated Bayern Munich in the final minutes of the 1999 Champions League. I remember his yelling on the side lines and his tactical changes that won the team this coveted title. I also learned about his close relationship with England (and the world's) darling player: David Beckham. It was difficult not to picture them together even when Becks played for England. Beckham owed this manager his style and fame and the way he transformed the soccer world.

As my love of soccer got more attuned, I began to realize Ferguson's stature in the game. Never quiet, always searching for the next star and forever making sure the team played well until the last minute. There were games in which they were losing or tying until the very end but the team always found a way to score and save the match.

In the recent decade, Ferguson brought us Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Antonio Valencia, Dimitar Berbatov, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Chicharito Hernandez, among others that I hope not to insult. These were impact players that became their own legends playing under Sir Alex.

Finally, I'd like to mention his courage, steadiness and love of the game. he knew when to talk and when his talk needed to be out there even at the detriment of his position. We will never forget his portrayal on Special1TV with Jose Mourinho, or for that fact, the many matches the two coaches played against each other. Master and Apprentice, friend and foe the same. 

Sir Alex Ferguson changed the meaning of soccer not with a sudden impact but with longevity, a desire to break barriers in the game, his tutelage of important players, and his presence on the world stage. We will miss you.

1 comment:

Alastair McCandless said...

I remember in the early days when your writing was a rough gem. You have polished it nicely over the years. Poignant piece, cheers!