Rooney shatters Ferguson’s grand illusion


Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United F.C.

Image via Wikipedia


I enjoyed Ferguson’s press conference on Wayne Rooney. I enjoyed it for reasons which speak unflatteringly of my character. I enjoyed it because it was the moment Fergie got his comeuppance.

After years of bullying the media, referees, players, managers, and the FA, Wayne Rooney socked him straight on the jaw and showed him he was no longer the biggest kid in the playground.

Ferguson was forced to show weakness. That must have hurt him. Been almost physically painful. Every word tasting like ash.

I like to think he spent a long, lonely, night ahead of that press conference. Bitter and resentful at the way one player had shorn him of his aura of omnipotence.

And it was only an aura. Because Ferguson has been playing a weak hand for several years now. Hamstrung by the Glazer’s debt, he’s been unable to respond to his own team’s slow decline and the emergence of Manchester City.

Ferguson has had to work desperately hard over recent seasons to keep the illusion going. In that respect the form of Giggs and Scholes has been a blessing. Here are two players utterly dedicated to the Scot, who unquestioningly accept his leadership. The message behind Ferguson’s regular tributes to them: “look how unswerving loyalty is rewarded”.

Ferguson oft repeats the mantra that no-one is bigger than Manchester United. The unspoken part of that sentence was always  no-one except Alex Ferguson. Wayne Rooney has disabused not only Fergie, but everyone, of that notion.

The future must seem very bleak to Ferguson. The pillars of his success have been knocked over. The temple roof has fallen in. I hope Ferguson enjoys the taste of his own mortality


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