If I’m being completely honest, I don’t hate Alex Ferguson. I used to when Arsenal and Manchester United were locking horns at the top of the Premier League in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, but the hatred has subsided somewhat. I suppose just in the same way that Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson’s seemingly intense rivalry has cooled off in the last few years.
There are a few reasons for this.
The first one is Jose Mourinho. Just when you thought Alex Ferguson was a complete and utter twat, here comes along Mourinho. Most people will remember him for being ‘special’ and adding a bit of spice to the Premier League, but I won’t. He was disgusting to me in the way he behaved and conducted himself.
He’s the one who tapped up Ashley Cole. He caused Anders Frisk to end his 18 year career as a professional referee because he was receiving death threats from Chelsea fans. He called Arsene Wenger a ‘voyeur’. Everton threatened him with legal action after he came out and said Andy Johnson was a cheat.
And Mourinho is the man that declared he would rather join Liverpool than Chelsea as he had several reservations about how Chelsea was being run. Unsurprisingly he moved to London a couple of weeks later.
Right, I’ve gone well off topic. The point is I don’t hate Fergie, I just have a general dislike towards him. And on the whole, you have to respect what he says. Hate it or not he’s been hugely successful at Manchester United.
In July 2007, when Arsenal sold Thierry Henry to Barcelona everyone (including a lot of Arsenal fans) thought this was the start of a massive decline. Everyone thought that we would drop out from the Top Four and Arsene Wenger was losing his marbles.
Actually, doesn’t this sound familiar every summer?
Anyway, while everyone was writing off Arsenal one of the very few people to come out and disagree was Alex Ferguson. I remember watching that Sky Sports interview and people thought red nose was crazy. He said:
“Arsenal are still a big threat and they’ll be in the top four, and I’m more convinced they will be in the top four without Thierry Henry.
“I just thought it was time for him to go. Arsene Wenger knew that, and I think they’ll do better.”
It was an very unpopular view at the time, and one not shared by many Arsenal fans.
And what happened?
Arsenal improved that following campaign by fighting for the Premier League title for the majority of the season.
So fast forward to exactly 2 years later and Ferguson has come out with this about Manchester City:
“It won’t be easy for them to win anything, even with the players they have bought.
“I can’t look at them as our main competitors. Liverpool and Chelsea are our main competitors.”
You can get much better for a more experienced view on the situation.
And while he didn’t mention Arsenal in the same breadth as Liverpool and Cheslea, he did talk about Arsenal saying:
“Arsenal have the biggest job to do because they have sold Adebayor and don’t seem to have the money the rest have got.
“How Arsene develops his team will be his biggest test.
“The one thing we know about Arsenal is that they will play some of the best football you will see and they will create chances.
“They could easily re-establish themselves and challenge for the league again.”
Which on reflection is a fair view.
We do know that Arsenal are going to play the best football in the league, and we do have a chance to challenge for the title again. But obviously making that a reality is going to be difficult since United and Chelsea have more experience in winning the title in recent seasons, along with a few other factors. We’ll just have to wait and see how our season pans out.