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The Genius of Sir Alex Ferguson
When it comes to the crunch, when it boils down to those moments wedged between winning and losing – that do-or-die moment when everything matters and hinges on your very next move in the pressure cooker of the football field, there’s no more astute, more cultured mastermind than Sir Alex Ferguson.
The expression “clutch” – which describes the intestinal fortitude possessed by those with a knack of popping up and seizing the moment when it matters most – is reserved for geniuses such as this.
Sporting superstars such as Kobe’ Bryant, Peyton Manning and the Tiger Woods of old are the most widely recognised proponents of this most valuable and universally revered of arts – but when you have an appreciation of various sporting codes, as I would call to claim, it remains evident that Sir Alex Fergusons “clutch” gene is unmatched.
How many times have we watched as his men have elevated their game tenfold from a seemingly deplorable slumber to come back from one or two down to win the game in the dying embers of the battle? How many times have they stepped on the ‘clutch’ and summoned this mysterious extra gear to outrun even their most revered of opponents? No matter what team he puts out, no matter how stacked the odds are against them they seem to always, and I mean always, reach deep within and reveal an extraordinary depth of character.
Don’t get me wrong, Fergie’s men are not – and have never been – the most stylish or artistic bunch but they fight til’ the death and then some. From the days of Steve Bruce, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona, to those of Ruud van Nistelrooy then Cristiano Ronaldo after him, one theme has remained consistent; winning!
He has built an empire so immersed in self-belief, so deeply rooted in the tradition of winning that no matter how inept his squads may have seemed down the years, the propensity to haul victory out of the hollows of defeat remains intact. Granted Sir Alex is not the one doing all the work on the pitch, as I’m sure many of you are blaring this point loudly behind your desktops, but he is wholly responsible for the ingrained philosophy which seems to be embedded in that famous crest. It’s all Fergie’s work which has transformed this mediocre 7-league championship team into an unprecedented era of dominance and which has seen them rise above all and sundry to become the most iconic brand in all of sports.
They’re a queer breed who, for some odd reason, is at their absolute best when their backs are on the ropes. This season alone has already been littered with examples of the ceaseless chivalry of these Red Devils. Just this past weekend they came from behind twice against a resilient Wigan team to win 4-3. Earlier in the season they overcame a two goal deficit at St. Mary’s to beat Southampton 3-2. There have indeed been similar turnarounds against Liverpool and Aston Villa (mind you each of these have been away from home).
We have grown familiar with that taut, awkwardly inflexible celebration which Fergie serves on the touchline – like an irritating rerun of your least favourite soapie – as his team score the winner in the third minute of stoppage time. In fact, we’ve grown so annoyed by this most unfashionable rendition of fist pumping that many amongst the droves of Reds, Blues and Gooners (like me) have through the years amused ourselves with fickle, unfounded and utterly ridiculous theories of how the FA are pro-Fergie and how high-profile referees such as Mark Clattenburg and, more notoriously, Howard Webb are all on the United payroll.
There are many other foolish conspiracies (which I won’t dare bore you with) which have over the years gained steam from the overzealous knob heads seeking to discredit his extraordinary ongoing success; but none more aptly surmises his genius than the sheer innate will to win which Sir Alex has in bucket loads.
He’s fierce, he’s combative and, in all honesty, even at the best of times, a maddening ill-tempered crossover between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. But that’s who he is! That’s what’s made him a fierce competitor and the most successful manager in the proud history of the Premier League.
And with the 164th Manchester derby fast approaching, who would dare rule out Fergie’s men’s prospects of gate crashing the Etihad and stealing all three points to end City’s unbeaten league record? Not me. Not after what these weary punditry eyes have witnessed over the glorious reign of what is, quite simply, the genius of Sir Alex Ferguson!!!
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