Every year there is specualtion about whether it will be Fergusons last at Manchester United. He will not make the same mistake he made in 2002 when he announced his impending retirement at the beginning of that season, only for the team to implode. He eventually did a u-turn and has stayed on ever since. However, father time is catching up. A few years ago he had a heart pacemaker fitted, and recently he had to go to hospital with a nose bleed that could not be stemmed. It may appear to be trivial, but from personal experience, it can be a sign of blood pressure problems.
From a different direction comes the announcement that the Glazers are to make an IPO listing on the NYSE. Initially listing around 10 per cent of the clubs shares. They are hoping to net around $300m for the initial offering, although they have set the bar quite high at around $20 a share, which would value the whole club at around $3bn, or £2.2bn.
It is interesting to note that the Glazers have chosen this moment to do this, especially as the markets around the world are volatile. Moreover, sports organisations, especially UK football ones, are not the most attractive in the US. This is not helped by the restrictive nature of the shares on offer, which offer their purchasers few voting rights and less in terms of dividends.
What is emerging, is the liklihood that Ferguson has made known to Glazers, his intention to quit, either at the end of this season, or next. That will give them time to organize their withdrawal. Why would they want to do this? Because they do not want to be around when it is time to try and replace Ferguson.
Another significant feature in all of this, is that Pep Guardiola turned down the advances of Roman Abramovich to manage Chelsea. It is rumuored that he had offered to make Guardiola the best paid manager in history, yet he spurned his advances and Roberto Di Matteo was appointed eventually instead. So why would Guardiola do that?
The best guess is that he is in on the tryst and is waiting in the wings for the announcement by Ferguson. It may appear to be far-fetched, but United have wrestled with this scenario for a long time now and are desperate for it to be a smooth transition with the least disruption for players and fans alike. Glazers will also be out of the firing line and the new company, headed by a Chief Executive or similar will be the person in charge of the transition.
If, as I expect, the Glazers will follow their initial listing with a full blown share sale, it will be a positive signal that the end of their reign is nigh, and correspondingly Fergusons, at Manchester United.