Manchester United News: Cracks showing in Ferguson Reign
By Kevin Morley.
"Nothing lasts forever." This was the phrase uttered by then Liverpool Manager Gerard Houllier on his first visit to Old Trafford as the opposition manager. He had just taken on the challenge of re-igniting Liverpool's fortunes and, having seen his own teams days of League Championships and European cups become a part of history, he knew more than most about the cyclical nature of footballing success.
This cycle may just be coming round for United and despite their undoubted success over the past two decades, they are now in real danger of being toppled on a regular basis by their neighbours from Eastlands. Having previously written City off as potential challengers, Ferguson was made to eat his words last season and that can not have been an enjoyable meal for someone who has become accustomed to getting his own way.
This season it was all going to be different, Manchester United, and their manager, were coming back with a vengeance. The manager was determined to go out on high and his fawning media followers were building United up as being on a mission to reclaim what was 'rightfully' theirs. While other teams transfer window signings were questioned or criticised, the purchases made by Ferguson were again lauded as being world beaters. Even the fact that Arsenal made United pay £10m more than Van Persie was worth seemed to have passed many of the one sided commentators by.
United have still yet to sign anybody to replace Giggs and Scholes. This may be a tough ask but there comes a time when you need to move on from past heroes. Fail to do this and the Houllier message about nothing lasting forever comes sooner than you think. The media have, of course, ignored this fact and instead sought to highlight the quality of the new signings and focus on the fact that RVP has been 'stolen' from Arsenal, a coup at £24m? The media though, can not win you matches, only your players can do that. The evidence of the opening two games has not been positive on this front.
Nobody would suggest that Everton away from home is an easy opener to the season but the manner of the defeat was what will be hurting most. Outfought and out thought by an Everton side put together on a shoe string budget will hurt and Ferguson resorted to complaining about the referee being influenced by the crowd. Surely not? Is he serious? After years of 'Fergie time' being played at Old Trafford? More than ever before, this is a sign that the cracks are starting to form. Roberto Mancini, and others will be loving watching Ferguson struggle to hide his frustration. Mind games only work when you rise above your opponent and it has to be said that Everton Manager David Moyes did this fantastically when he declined to discuss Ferguson's biased post match analysis.
The second game of the season was more of a gift. Fulham at home, with no Clint Dempsey, surely there was no need to even play the game? Fulham had other ideas as they took the lead and then threatened to equalise late on. Three points yes, but hardly a convincing performance at home to mid-table opposition. And then there is Rooney, out injured for four weeks and at the time when footballers are seeking to get their match fitness established. There is no doubt it will take even longer to establish his fitness once the gash in his thigh has healed.
So after two games three points have been dropped. Rooney is out and there is no money to replace him. Ferguson has already made his annual claim that the summer transfer business at United is done but this time he means it as there is no more money to spend. Van Persie will now be the man who has all the pressure on his shoulders, trying to establish himself in front of an ageing midfield who will not supply the ammunition in the same way as the youthful and energetic Arsenal side he has left behind. It is going to get interesting over the next month or so and if Ferguson is going to start reacting the way he did after the loss to Everton then it will be interesting to see how deep the cracks start to get.