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Tag Archives: Alex Mcleish

Here is my list of people who would be in the run in to replace Sir Alex once he decides to retire. Whoever it might be, it is going to be a gargantuan task to emulate him at the throne of a football club which has been institutionalized to success. One thing that will certainly happen is that the board won’t be haphazard in decision making regarding the manager. The board boasts of some legendry names like Sir Bobby, Brian Robson, Paddy Crerand etc. Sir Alex will decide who is going to succeed him and I am taking it for granted that his presence will be ‘inspring’ but at the same time quite intimidating. This club counts continuity and tradition as two of its major strengths in modern football. The way Sir Alex and his coaching team have gone on to assemble a squad for probably the next two generations speaks volumes about their foresight and vision. The decisions that the club will take administratively and from a footballing perspective would need to get the nod from board members most of whom will be former footballers and coaches.

Here is the list: (in no particular order)

1. Carlos Quiroz:

Although the current coach of Portugal national team, I cannot look beyond him at the moment. A stunning tactical mind who has built generations after generations of amazing footballing talents during his time at Portugal and United. The man who was the secret behind Portugal’s golden generation of Figo, Rui Costa, Nuno Gomes etc is aslo credited with bringing in a more tactical approach to United’s play. As a fan, I have watched the way United’s play has evolved over the past 5-6 years; from being a typical English club playing anything but the possession game to a continental side playing with two defensive midfielders. The new found tactical awareness and more suave possession style was no doubt Quiroz’s contribution. Sir alex in his old days would have never gone on and bought somebody like Carrick. Sir Alex was called a ‘tactical anarchist’ by Vicente Del Bosque after United elimination from the CL at OT after a 4-3 win over Real Madrid. But United play more with a settled rhythm and poise rather than going for the jugular in Europe now and that change in atitude is down to new coaching methods and ideas brought in by Carlos. The sort of players that have been inducted into the squad and the new wave of coaching style and personnel that represent United’s current generation are brain children of the man himself. If he hadn’t got a call from Portuguese Football association, he would have stayed to become the next manager at OT. He had no other incentive to be an assistant at OT for such a long time after having managed Real Madrid for an year. He is very highly rated by Sir Alex, Sir Bobby and the players.

2. Eric Cantona:

This choice is purely a sentimental one although the ‘King’ himself has said he would even only contemplate about management only if he had a chance to replace Sir Alex at OT. Cantona’s awareness and flamboyance as a player has never been in doubt but I am not sure how he would fare as a manager. Sir Alex is a terrific man manager and a motivator; but he has never been called a ‘master tactician’ like a Capello or a Jock Stein. Sir Alex as Schmeichel says, is not as good a coach when compared to his man management capabilities. Cantona would be able inspire every one his players just by his sheer presence. Interesting but a less probable choice.

3. Michael Laudrup:

I really expected him to become Sir Alex’s number 2 when Quiroz left after his second stint. An amazingly gifted footballer who played under Cryuff’s ‘dream team’ Barcelona. No doubts about his abilities as a world class footballer; Romario, Cryuff, Raul, Zidane are some of his admirers. His coaching career has been a success and he is known for his innovative formations and playing with fast wingers. He took Getafe to the final of Copa Del Ray and did a fine job with limited resources at hand. I am not sure how he will like the media frenzy that would be around him if he is given the nod. Aged 44, a perfect choice for footballing reasons as he would bring in new ideas to the table. He would be my personal choice probably for the reason that I love players like him. But great footballers don’t necessarily make great managers. So watch out.

4. Laurent Blanc, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane:

All of these players who have played under Sir Alex might be considered. I am not sure how the board will decide on candidates with relatively very less coaching experience. But would be interesting anyway.

5. Jose Mourinho:

At the top his managerial career at 46, absolute box office but also a real good tactician. Somebody Rio Ferdinand believes, would have the ‘balls’ to manage at a place like OT where the hunger for success is unbound. The only concern with Jose is the way he plays the game. Right from the days of Sir Matt to Sir Alex, the club has had a tradition of playing the game with panache and grace. Sir Bobby thinks Mourinho might lose the battle to become Fergie’s successor in that he plays the game with too much conservatism and although he is inspiring and has an aura, his principles and United’s might not go hand in hand. But still, a very realistic choice.

Other possible candidates in the fray might be David Moyes, Alex Mcleish, and Mark Hughes.

Any other choices and merit of the above candidates is open to debate.