Football needs Sir Alex Ferguson
However abrasive Sir Alex Ferguson can be, football needs Manchester United manager’s qualities.
Ferguson’s a fighter. Such men have their rough edges, their pointed elbows and ludicrous outbursts, but they also have their principles and prizes.
Ferguson has soon to visit the FA to explain his recent inelegant comments about Martin Atkinson. He’ll probably receive a chunky ban, confined to the stands for four or more games, and he’ll deserve it.
Referees’ jobs are stressful and difficult enough without Ferguson chipping in. He needs to think about the ramifications of sulphurous remarks, to the game that rewards him so handsomely, to his club and to the referee.
After the FA beaks have handed down their punishment, let us hope they ask Ferguson if he has anything to say. He could point out that the FA lacks the sort of strong leadership he embodies. In times of adversity, as we’ve seen recently, Ferguson’s a far, far better manager than Arsène Wenger.
He could suggest that some gratitude is due from the FA for nurturing England players such as David Beckham and Paul Scholes, accelerating the development of Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling. His United academy has not produced many gems of late but Ferguson could have a little jewel in Ravel Morrison (if the attacking midfielder learns the demands and disciplines of being a pro).
Ferguson could advise the FA on how to build up an impressive stadium while enjoying success on the field. However painful he can be at times, English football needs the fighting spirit of Ferguson.