Tuesday 24 October 2017

Ferguson certainly won't be choosing 'The Next One'

JUST short of twelve months ago I wrote a piece about Alex Ferguson stepping down from his role as manager of Manchester United after 27 years at the helm.

The article centred around a visit to the barber shop where five or six punters and the man with the scissors offered their opinion on Ferguson's time in charge and his successor David Moyes.

At the time there was almost unanimous agreement on Ferguson's guaranteed place in history as one of the greatest managers the game had ever seen, but there were lots of conflicting views on whether Moyes was the correct man to replace him.

We all agreed, however, that Ferguson's open declaration of support for his fellow Scot rubber-stamped his appointment. Ferguson knew what it took to get the job done. He had faced up to the former Everton man for eleven seasons. He liked the man, his style and how he got the job done.

Sir Alex's nod of approval was good enough for the board. On 9th May David Moyes was given a six-year contract to commence on 1st July. The beginning of a new era for the then Premier League champions was heralded. How wrong we all were. Or rather, how wrong Alex Ferguson was!

As I write this piece on Monday evening, David Moyes is a dead man walking. With his side languishing in seventh position, 23 points adrift of league leaders Liverpool, Moyes will be sacked from his position within the next 24 hours.

Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt will probably take over for the next four games to take the club through to the end of the season. Thereafter the Manchester United board will be faced with a mammoth decision as to who should be installed as manager for next season. Ferguson's opinion is unlikely to be sought.

Last May, in the barbers shop the debate concluded as follows: 'So there you have it. The King is dead. Long live the King. However, unfortunately for Moyes, its not that simple. The King has not died. He has merely moved upstairs. And just like when Matt Busby retired in 1969 after 24 years at the helm, his successors, first Wilf McGuinness and later our own Frank O'Farrell, both faced a near impossible task. McGuinness was dispensed with within six months before Busby was reinstated for the remainder of the season. And again under Busby's heavy shadow, O'Farrell lasted little longer before Tommy Doherty oversaw relegation to the old Second Division two years later. The Liverpool fan was intrigued by this impromptu history lesson and now appeared content with the former Everton manager's appointment. Sporting his new short, back and sides he bid us farewell with his demeanour noticeably lifted at the prospect of history repeating itself. The man with the scissors then checked his watch. Five minutes to six and still three heads yet to be cut. He picked up the pace and shifted into a higher gear. We were almost in 'Fergie Time'!'

Just like that Liverpool fan with his new haircut, the whole country (indeed I'm sure the entire world) is now awash with Liverpool supporters sporting wide grins. They are quite rightly basking in their own side's meteoric success, but they're also relishing the catastrophic demise of their bitter rivals. The fact that their former nemesis, Alex Ferguson, is party to the downfall only adds to the smugness.


Dundalk have recovered well from their opening day defeat to neighbours Drogheda to sit joint top of the SSE Airtricity League alongside Cork City. Last Friday night's home game against Shamrock Rovers could have yielded all three points but an excellent 1-0 away win in Athlone was the perfect response to keep their title prospects on track. Drogheda, on the other hand, have slumped to three successive defeats after a terrific start to the season which saw them go unbeaten for the opening six games.

Heavy defeat

The Louth minors went under to a particularly heavy defeat at home to Wexford last weekend but I doubt we are as bad as the scoreline suggests. Sometimes this kind of thing can happen to young players. Stage-fright or nerves can often takeover with youngsters and they sometimes find it difficult to express themselves or perform to their optimum level.

Hopefully the panel and mentors can re-group and seize the opportunity which the backdoor offers. We play Longford in Drogheda next week and if successful we then face Carlow at the same venue the following week. This would leave us back at the quarter final stages so let's not pronounce judgement on these lads just yet.

Sidelines Bet

Meath's Barry Geraghty, onboard the Jonjo O'Neill trained favourite Shutthefrontdoor, eventually landed the Irish Grand National in his own backyard on Easter Monday. Our tip Los Amigos was a non-starter along with my other fancy Tammys Hill. This week we go for €20 on a Liverpool/Chelsea draw in Anfield on Sunday at odds of 13/5.

The Argus