Manchester United’s Greatest Signing?
by Richard Bowdery
On November 6th 1986 a lone Scot journeyed south on a mission to set up a one man dynasty in the heartland of the ‘auld enemy’. He came, he saw, he conquered and became a legend.
For it was on this day that Alex Ferguson arrived at Manchester United to fill the vacant managerial seat. His journey had taken him from a string of Scottish clubs including a very successful stint as manager at Aberdeen. His impact there caught the eyes of United’s board who were ready to jettison Ron Atkinson.
But it could have been so different if Wolverhampton Wanderers had got their way. In 1982– with the club heading towards the trap door of the old Division One – they approached Ferguson about succeeding the manager John Barnwell. Ferguson declined their offer.
An even more audacious approach was rumoured when Liverpool were said to be considering him for the role of Liverpool manager following Joe Fagan’s decision to retire at the end of the 84-85 season. That job eventually went to Kenny Dalglish.
Over the next 27 years he and the Red Devils exceeded all expectations (except probably his and the team’s own). Look away now if you are from the blue side of Manchester.
League Title winners;
1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
FA Cup winners;
1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004
Football League Cup winners;
1992, 2006, 2009, 2010
FA Charity/Community Shield Winners;
1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
European Cup winners;
FIFA Club World Cup;
UEFA Super Cup;
European Cup Winners Cup;
Of course he does have other claims to fame. He was knighted and is now a Sir. He engaged in diplomacy by entering into an entente cordiale with Arsene Wenger. He repelled a Spanish Armada that had settled near the Liverpool Docks during the reign of Rafael Benitez and he even tried to prove, unscientifically, that a football boot could fly.
But can he claim the crown as the longest serving manager in English football..? It seems not…
That crown must go to Jimmy Davies who, at the age of 71, stepped down as manager of Waterloo Dock AFC in the Liverpool County Premier League after 50 years in charge.
When he first took up the reins in 1963 the Beatles recorded their first album, Please Please Me.
He has also out-gunned the former Manchester United manager on the Trophy front too; winning 70 to Fergie’s 37.
Apart from length of tenure and trophy’s won, does he have anything else in common with Sir Alex..?
His response was quite down to earth: “I don’t think Fergie gets involved in washing football kits like my wife does” he said.
And if you think this is a wind-up let me point out that (a) this isn’t April 1st and (b) Jimmy Davies has been verified as England’s longest-serving manager by the FA.
And they have one other thing in common; They both retired from football management in May this year.
Happy retirement Jimmy. Oh and you too Sir Alex!