Is Ferguson Actually Still Any Good?

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Tenner ponders whether the Red-nosed Nutter still has it in him to bring United back from the brink.

Life has been less than stellar at Old Trafford lately.

A couple of average seasons both domestically and in Europe a squad gradually being depleted of its quality players only to be inadequately replaced. One of the remaining shining lights was an attacking trio of Ronaldo, Rooney and Ruud that could still take apart any side. But now Ruud is almost certain to bugger off with Ronaldo either to follow him or, if he decides his tender emotions can handle a full season of non-stop booing, reluctantly grace Old Trafford with his presence for another season at least.

However the real issue that seems to be resonating in Manchester these days is whether a certain red-nosed Scot is still up to the job. The rumors were quietly starting when he decided not to retire after all and have been picking up pace ever since. Given that Fabio Capello, Paul Le Guen and most likely Marcelo Lippi will be starting with new clubs this season – that’s quite a bit of talent to be missing out on.

When a club has a manager as iconic and successeful as Sir Alex Ferguson, will the supporters turn on him if this season fails to deliver a substantial charge on either the Premiership or the Champions League? In the past, even when he was discarding key players left and right simply because they got on his tits or wrote the odd tell-all memoir, his decisions were virtually never questioned and it was just assumed that the team would come out on top. The fact that Ronaldo seems set to be allowed to stay despite some rather public outbursts could be seen as a vote of no-confidence in the manager’s ability to continue to work similar magic.

The club is also being turned down left and right in the transfer market as flavour-of-the-month players talk about plying their trade for Chelsea or Arsenal…for Mourinho or Wenger. Perhaps players are less inclined to take an earful from an angry Scot when the team isn’t winning. His eye for talent seems to be waning somewhat as well, more Djemba-Djembas than Cantonas have been finding their way into the squad than supporters are comfortable with.

Even though he probably still has the job for life – I’ve got the distinct feeling that Ferguson’s era is one that has gone on just a tad too long.