Sir Alex Ferguson has dropped his biggest hints to date that he will retire at the end of this season. Some observers think it may be the end of next season. Whichever it is, this is important game changing news for Manchester United and their 600 million fans around the world. Manchester United fans have dreaded this news and are now turning their thoughts to Sir Alex`s replacement.
During the summer, he was seen in the United States sitting with Guardiola, for whom he has a good regard. At the time, the media in the United Kingdom decided that this was a sign that he was preparing to transfer power to Guardiola. However, in recent days, Sir Alex has made a number of overt overtures to Mourhino and his suitability for any job in football management. That, it is argued, is double-speak for his suitability for the Manchester United job.
From my own point of view, having been a supporter or Manchester United since 1958, and having watched the fiasco that surrounded the retirement and subsequent doomed reinstatement of Sir Matt Busby, I would err towards Mourinho over Guardiola.
Granted, Guardiola led Barcelona to their most successful era ever. However, he did not do this alone. His reign coincided with a batch of players coming through the Barca Academy all at the same time, just as they did at Manchester United in the early nineties. Guardiola was the guardian of the team rather than its creator. You only have to go back a few years before Guardiola to see the beginnings of a great team and this was before he was first team coach. Yes, he was at the club since childhood and went through the ranks from player to coach, but he did not single-handedly create the team that now dominates club football. I question whether he could ever recreate that team anywhere else, even at United.
On the other hand, we have Mourinho. He has been successful in four different countries. Chelsea had not won the English Premier League for 50 years until he came along. Yes, he had the backing of billionaire Abramovich, but some of the players were already there. He moulded his team, as he had at Porto the years before, into a fearsome unit. He went years without losing a game at home at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. He took Inter to win the Champions League, after Mancini had spent years trying and failing. He went to Real Madrid, with their political pantomime, and moulded another team that even broke the Barcelona stranglehold last year and won the La Liga title.
Guardiola is the daydreamers’ choice. Mourinho is the man for all seasons.
I expect to see Mourinho in charge at United next season.