One of the earliest memories I have of watching cup finals was the 1960 Blackburn v Wolverhampton Wanderers in which Wolverhampton won 3-0. It was also one of a string of cup finals with bad injuries and was known at the time as the Wembley Hoodoo. It was during the match that Dave Whelan, current Wigan Athletic manager broke his leg.
After the cup final, Whelan was sold to Crewe Alexandra and when he retired, he built up a chain of supermarkets called Whelans Discount Stores. It was then that my father became friendly with Whelan. My father was the Sales Manager for Colgate Palmolive in the North West and he regularly called on Whelan doing deals. He kept in touch until he died in 2000.
Obviously, I do not have any connection with Dave Whelan, but I still have associates of my fathers, who do. It was one of them that I overheard talking about Whelan inadvertently blurting out about Ferguson retiring at the end of this season and how Ferguson was not impressed. He and the club instantly issued press releases stating that he was not leaving.
The truth is different. There are signs of ill health starting to creep in. Only a few months ago, he had to go to hospital to have a nose bleed cauterized. Not really life threatening, except that it was a sign of very high blood pressure. However, the thing that has finally put the lid on it is the constantly losing out on transfer targets.
A few years ago, the very presence of manchester United would have players getting their pens out to sign up. Now they have unscrupulous agents who simply go to the highest bidder, usually some Arab funded club. Case in point is Lucas Moura. United had supposedly agreed the deal with the club weeks ago, only for the agent to tout his player all over Europe becasue he wanted £6m in fees. United refused to pay them, PSG were prepared to pay them. End of story.
Van Persie is another stumbling block. Whilst Wenger says he doesnt want to sell to a direct competitor, it did not stop him selling Adebeyor, Nasri, Clichy, to Manchester City yet he is playing hardball with Manchester United. Ferguson has also hinted at EUFA stepping in and looking at the Moura transfer, but PSG are a French team. Will Platini really want to penalise them?
All in all, Sir Alex will be approaching 72 at the end of next season. Everything is changing around him and he is being left behind, like a fossil from some bygone age. Ferguson is too proud to admit this in public, but my sources have told me that privately, he is sick and tired of the rat race that football and particularly the transfer market has become.
I t does seem convenient that Guardiola has decided to snub Chelsea and take a year out. Maybe he has been given the nod and is just waiting in the wings. One thing is for sure, United and the Glazers will need to get the cheque book out when he does take over and be more aggressive in the transfer market otherwise everything Ferguson has built will slowly decline.