By Mikey Jordan
1st July 2013. The day the keys of Old Trafford will be passed to a new general for the first time in over quarter of a century. Sir Alex Ferguson stunned reds everywhere this week when he revealed he would be retiring at the end of the season, questions had been asked for a long time, but they were always swiftly repelled with stern words and a gritty determination, with no sign ever appearing that an era was coming to an end. But now reds everywhere are filled with a fresh excitement, as well as an unfamiliar scepticism, and on the day that the successor to the great Glaswegian was appointed, opinion is already massively divided. Some are happy with David Moyes and his fiery approach, other’s wanted Jose Mourinho’s commanding confidence, whilst others longed for Jurgen Klopp, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, or even someone else, but for some of us, to some extent, the answer to the question ‘who?’ never really mattered.
I was fortunate to be born into an era of domination, of success and of countless trophies, as were millions of others. Whether they chose to be a United fan, or like me never had a choice, but luckily had it thrust upon them by a family of adoring reds. Now though an entire generation of Manchester United fans are entering a very dark and uncomfortable place, the unknown. To them, Sir Alex is Man Utd, he is the face, the voice, the head and the heart, and anything else is just unthinkable, right? And like myself, many must be questioning, what is Manchester United without Ferguson. To try and sum up the feelings I felt at the moment the news broke would be foolish, words cannot explain what overcame me for those first few seconds, the realisation and sudden hitting home of the words I always knew but naively never thought I would actually hear. “Sir Alex has announced his retirement”.
Am I happy with Moyes as Sir Alex’s successor? Sure. There are reasons I support the decision, there are reasons why I don’t, but that would have been true of any manager. The biggest problem facing most Man United fans is that really nobody got the manager they wanted. You might think that you did, you might have wanted Moyes from the moment you found out that Ferguson was retiring, but really we all knew who we wanted. Deep down all of us had an impossible and irrational answer for who we wanted. Sir Alex.
A lot of people will think that is a ridiculous statement, and in many ways it is, but it is also true of so many of us, after all why would you want to change the best? You don’t swap your brand new Ferrari for a second hand Citroen. It’s a hard pill to swallow, knowing things won’t be the same again, but for better or worse as the future may be, every Man Utd fan will remember Sir Alex’s legacy.
I’ve spent the best part of two days just thinking, and this ‘mess’ is the closest I’ve coming to making sense of any of it. It is pointless to speculate as to what the future might hold, because nobody knows. All there is to do now is to bid farewell to the greatest manager to ever grace our planet, and be positive for next season, with a new manager, new faces, and new challenges aplenty. Just as an era is coming to an end, a new one is beginning. Football has never before seen such change as it has in recent years, and that will continue, but the colossus that is Manchester United will remain. There will be highs and lows, happiness and success, and tears and heartbreak going forward, but that is football, and that is Manchester United, and that is why we all love them both.
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