A Tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson

Richard Heathcote

Imagine if Manchester United, both Fans and Club, had as short a supply of patience as today's AC Milan "fans?"

I understand we have a match in less than three hours, and I want to take nothing away from that. I also understand that this is a Milan blog. But there is a parallel here and if you have some patience, it will be reward both literally and figuratively...

When I think of Sir Alex, I sort of see the quintessential Coach. The Arrigo Sacchi of the EPL. A father figure as much as a tactician, a man manager as much as a manager. He did it all. When I took my USSF C License I had to write a paper about emulating a great Coach, foolishly I chose Jose Mourinho. At the time his brash attitude, take no prisoners mentality, and ability to JUST WIN was enamoring. That was five years ago, and now that I am older and wiser I can truly appreciate someone like Sir Alex. What he has accomplished not just in terms of silverware, but in building a CLUB is second to none. When you think of Milan you think of Maldini, when you think of Manchester United you think of Sir Alex. This is incredible considering the number of spectacular players who have walked onto Old Trafford, Beckham, Scholes, Ruud, Bruce, Cantona, Jones...the list is endless, yet Sir Alex is the Bandiera, incredible.

The point I am ultimately trying to make here is the legend that is Sir Alex was not built in a day. It took him six long years to win his first title. The first of many. Had Manchester United fans and ownership had a short supply of patience they would have fired one of the greatest managers to ever grace the game. In today's game SAF would not have been given the time to grow and build Manchester United into what it is today. He would have been canned and kicked in the ass to boot. There is a lesson to be learned here for Milan "fans" and ownership. There is a also a life lesson to be considered, where has all the patience gone? In his first three season Max Allegri has given more to Milan than SAF did in his first six? Yet he is being vilified and lambasted by people who know next to nothing about the game of football and call themselves experts?

I don't know what will happen with Max, he should probably quit with his middle fingers held high, a page out of Maldini's book. But why should it end that way? Why can't Max be given the leeway to continue to build, and will Milan live to regret this foolish wish? Only time will tell, but as we say goodbye to a living Legend in the game of football, it is good to reflect and learn from the lessons he may have taught all of us. I leave you with my favorite SAF quote...

"When an Italian tells me it's pasta on the plate, I check under the sauce to make sure." SAF

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