Has Sir Alex Ferguson ruined football by retiring?

Jose Mourinho is back in England and the 50-year-old will be looking to reclaim the Premier League title he last won in May, 2006. After a largely underwhelming spell in Spain with Real Madrid, Mourinho will have to address consistency issues in the Chelsea training camp, with the team failing to finish in the top-two for a second season running.

The majority of football fans will be glad to have him back. His outspoken personality draws attention to him from the media and causes plenty of debate in the footballing world: a dream for every fan. In the past his relationships with other managers have been at the forefront of his personality, often entering into mind games to get a reaction out of his rivals and a mental advantage. All of this just added to the entertainment his teams provide and one can hardly blame the media for being seduced by his proud persona. His bond with Sir Alex Ferguson was a rare friendship in his explosive spell in England, often praising the former Manchester United manager for his influence on generations of football careers and hospitality.

“I was in the dressing room party in Manchester with Porto, I was very young. And he came to congratulate me and to invite me for a coffee, after being knocked out. During the following years we continue with that behaviour, he helped me, it was a moment that touched me, I have much respect.” Jose Mourinho talking about his respect for Sir Alex Ferguson.

The respect was mutual with Ferguson last year commenting, “We had a little spat after our first game together, but I’ve always admired his work. And the times that we’ve had dinners together or after matches, you know, meetings and shared the good wines and things, I’ve got on well with him. Because the thing I like about Jose is that he can laugh at himself.”

However, this positive relationship was one in a million, with Mourinho often entering into quarrels with his peers including comically labelling Arsene Wenger as a ‘voyeur’ and basically disregarding him for his three-year spell in England. His most famous rivalry though, was the epic battle with Rafael Benitez that saw the Liverpool and Chelsea meet 14 times before Mourinho left for pastures new in September 2007. With Benitez recently appointed Napoli manager, Ferguson retired and Wenger still not on Mourinho’s radar, let alone Christmas card list, it begs the question: who’s left to provide us with entertainment on the touchline? Manuel Pellegrini is far too eloquent to get involved in Mourinho’s mind-games, David Moyes will be concentrating on surviving and Brendan Rodgers has a friendship with the opinionated Portuguese manager.

Things might have been different, though. If Ferguson had stayed on at Manchester United then the rivalry could have been re-ignited, and if Chelsea could have snatched the title from the grasps of The Red Devils then Ferguson would have gone out on a lull. By leaving football in the manner in which he has, he has created a near impossible task of replicating his achievements in the game and taken a lot of the challenge to ‘be the best’ with him. For me, as well as showing that stability is the key to success, Ferguson has also initiated what could be an endless revolving door at the top clubs, with no one able to match his repeated success and thus owners constantly looking for a fresh approach to the club.

Will Mourinho get bored with life without his old sparring partners and threat of losing his job at any given moment, I think so and see him as the Portuguese national team manager shortly down the line.