Friday, December 15

Sir Alex Ferguson: The Bill Gates Of Football

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Bill Gates can be safely be said to be Microsoft. Just like facebook is Mark Zukerburg or Steve Jobs’s middle name, Apple.

At the mention of either of the keywords in the above pairings, the corresponding keyword immediately pops up.

Try it out with Virgin Atlantic, and the keyword that naturally pops up is Richard Branson.

Image via Wikipedia

Such mega Corporations. Mega brands if you must: the culmination of the vision, influence, energy , blood, sweat and tears of these men.

With the exception of the phenomenal rise of facebook, which in all fairness pales in value to the above stellar cast of multinationals, all have been long in the building.

A feat comparable to a massive art project stretching from one age to the next and continually reinventing itself in preparation of the eras yet to dawn.

Just recently, Microsoft celebrated 25 years of Windows operating system. Windows as you might know is an exceptional brand with 91% market share, choking out rivals Apple and Linux.

On 19th December 2010, one such exceptional figure shall attain a new milestone.

As Manchester United face Chelsea at Stamford bridge, the Sunday after the Monday in which they faced Arsenal, Sir Alex Ferguson will be in the dugout barking orders, sending out instructions and characteristically chewing on gum.

Just as he has done for the past 24 years, one month and fourteen days.

If he guides his team to a win over the defending champions, it will be on the day he surpassed Sir Mutt Bursbyrecord as the longest serving Manchester United manager ever.

Mind you, Sir Mutt Bursby has had two stints as Manchester United manger [October 1945- January 1969] and a shorter [ December 1970-June 1971] stint.

While Manchester United remains forever indebted to the heroics of Sir Mutt Burbsy (Following the 1958 Munich air disaster, Sir Mutt Bursby a survivor of the crash, rebuilt the Red Devils eventually winning the clubs first of three European honors in1968),

It is sir Alex Ferguson who has guided the team to its first Premier League Title after a quarter a century wait for league honors. From the Cantona era, to David Beckham era to Cristiano Ronaldo era to Rooney era and the continuing Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs reigns; Sir Alex Ferguson has been making the decisions. Footballing ones at least.

At just over $ 1 Billion, Forbes lists Manchester United among the most valuable sporting Brands. Nudged off the top by a scoop of giant American sports franchise brands, Manchester United however is the richest football club ahead of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Arsenal. Under Ferguson’s watch this once relegated club, is today the most valuable football brand.

A defeat for Sir Alex Ferguson to Chelsea on that day, might bring the Scott memories of his first game in charge of Manchester United where he lost 2-0 to Oxford United. Most importantly though, a defeat is likely to derail his quest for a record 19th Premier league title, thereby surpassing Liverpool’s all time record.

On his personal tally, it will be his 12th league title, alongside a five star badge in the FA cup [1994, 1996, 1999, 2004 ] a four star badge in the League Cup [1992, 2006, 2009, 2010 ]and a two star badge in the Champions League [1999, 2008]. That is 22 cups for Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Just recently, current Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho, the manager Manchester United fans and pundits alike vouch to be the likely successor to Sir Alex Ferguson, begged the Sir to say a little longer in the game.

Approaching his 69th birthday Sir Alex, the former Aberdeen manager who with his expiration on Manchester United had risen to the top of the cream,was humble in his thoughts on attaining this milestone. The Scotsman’s words echoing an ancient piece of African wisdom: ” even the master .

Sir Alex Ferguson,

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Image via Wikipedia

“I didn’t know that……That will be a nice moment. I never imagined I’d be here so long, particularly in the modern game. I don’t think it will happen again and I feel lucky to have been here all this time……There’s absolutely no doubt that what this club is today is built around what Matt started and the vision he had for United……He created a lot of firsts here. It was his idea to introduce executive boxes at Old Trafford, he took the team into European competition for the first time and, of course, under Matt United became the first English team to win the European Cup…..In some ways it was a shame that I came in during the latter part of his life [Sir Matt Burbsy] but, on the flipside, it was fantastic that he was here and I used to have a lot of good chats with him. You always knew he was in the building because you could smell his pipe. I’d go for a chat and a cup of tea with him whenever I had the chance; he was a lovely man who was always keen to offer encouragement to me.

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