Mancheter United: Hypocrisy is the road to destruction, possibly

No one man is bigger than the club. It is a motto that Sir Alex Ferguson has lived by, and many such as David Beckham and Roy Keane have died by. The motto has provided Ferguson with a framework by which he has run the most successful club in English football for 25 years and that is why it seems so foolproof. However, a word of caution, Ferguson himself has already broken his own golden rule. The man himself is not just bigger than the club, he is the club.

The name ‘Fergie’ is now synonymous with Manchester United and that must be a worry for the fans. Currently, an attraction for foreign players coming to the club is not just the name of the club, or the opportunity to play alongside some great players, but the lure of playing under the greatest manager in the world. Danger signs should be ringing when one individual possesses so much power, even if he does deserve it. Not so much this past year, but in the club’s recent History, namely the 2010/2011 season he was the only reason why the Reds won the title, his influence transcended the quality of his players.

I’m not going to explain how this came to pass as it really is due to the amount of time he has been at the helm of the Manchester club; he just gradually became more and more powerful until there was no way of separating him from the goings on ‘upstairs’ in the club. This is now a severe problem which will manifest itself the minute the great manager himself steps foot outside Old Trafford, probably.

When he leaves, there is a risk that the whole infrastructure of the club will collapse. The very fact that he gets involved in all aspects of the club shows that he is more than a manager, he is the boss. When he leaves, there will be a big loss on the training ground, in the transfer dealings and in the contract renewals. There will be a marked difference in the transition the academy players make from the reserves to the first team and a calming influence, both on and off the pitch, for the fans and the players will be lost. There is a very real chance that this great club will come crashing down.

That said, despite my pessimistic outlook on the future of Manchester United, it isn’t all doom and gloom (which may be surprising coming from me). Yes, Ferguson is now bigger than the club however this is not a guarantee that the club will fail after he has gone. It just increases the difficulty that the next United manager will face. The man who inherits this role will not just have to be a good coach, he will have to be astute in the transfer market, he will have to be able to put his vision of a team into reality, he will have to be able to deal with, mostly annoying and arrogant, agents, he will have to be able to communicate with the fans, he will have to be able to rule with an iron fist, yet have the ability to put a velvet glove on it sometimes, he will have to be able to spot young talent and most importantly he will have to be able to keep a whole squad happy. Only a select few will be able to, successfully, take up the mantle.

Although, if a man of suitable calibre and quality is not found (I’m not going to guess who it will be but PLEASE NOT MOURINHO!!) then this great, grand, historic, even classical institution will be shook to its foundations, and then there will be a precarious interval to see whether or not it disintegrates into dust.