Normally at this time of the year, the football season comes to its close and the only major talking points come on the pitch with teams scrapping it out for league titles, continental places and league survival. But this time as well as that we find ourselves with more and more talking points than ever before.
It started last week with Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho dropping big hints that he could be on his way back to Chelsea this summer, it continued this past weekend with an unbelievable ending to the Championship season and today more big news broke as Aston Villa Captain Stiliyan Petrov announced his retirement from professional football 14 months after the Bulgarian was diagnosed with leukaemia. But despite all of those just mentioned and more, there is one club in particular that has stolen most of the headlines in the last 36 hours.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to depart from the Manchester United managerial hot seat was always going to happen at some point, but when the news broke yesterday morning that this season was finally going to be his last, it still sent shockwaves across the whole world. 26 years in the job, almost 1500 games in charge, 38 honours. Whether you love him or you hate him, you cannot deny that he is one of, if not the most successful manager in the history of the game. I personally would like to thank him for giving me some great football memories in his time at the club. United fans will certainly miss him the most and the question now is who now gets the daunting task of trying to follow in the 71 year olds footsteps.
When the news first broke, two favourites emerged, then within a matter of hours the two favourites became one, and as it stands, David Moyes is in “pole position” to succeed his fellow Scot at Old Trafford next season. Because of the size of the club, whoever is appointed will definitely have the support of many but will still have to win over some that would have preferred a different appointment. If Moyes does get the job, it will surely be seen as a reward for his hard work at Everton and the fact that he has managed to keep his job there for 11 years given that we now live in an age where managers are getting sacked too frequently these days as chairmen seem to lack patience and demand instant success most of the time.
As well as being in charge at Goodison Park for over a decade whilst working off an almost dismal budget every season, Moyes also has 3 LMA Manager of the Year awards, but while that and his long spell at the club definitely go in his favour, people do look out for things such as the fact that he lacks experience in The Champions League, his poor away record against the Premier League’s bigger clubs and that he has failed to bring any Silverware to the Blue half of Merseyside, the closest he came to doing so was the 2009 FA Cup Final defeat to Chelsea. There will always be some negatives because nobody is perfect, but there appear to be many reasons why he has been made the favourite for the job and it will surely only be a short matter of time before a replacement is named.
Whoever is appointed will already have some work to do in preparing a squad for next season as news broke today that Wayne Rooney has decided that he wants to leave the club. The 27 years old future has been a hot topic at times this season and now with the end of the season just over a week away, it has been made public knowledge that two weeks ago Rooney met with Sir Alex Ferguson and told the departing manager that he wanted to move on this summer. This news has been followed up by a club statement saying that the player is not for sale, but with all sorts of changes coming to Old Trafford over the next couple of months, will Wayne Rooney feature in the new manager’s plans for next season?
This story will take an interesting turn if David Moyes is appointed and Rooney’s future is still up in the air. Moyes was of course the person who gave the striker his break at Everton in 2002 and helped him develop over the next couple of years before his £25.6 million move to United in 2004. Six years ago Moyes took Rooney to court over disparaging comments made about him in the England International’s autobiography. It is said that things are better between the pair now but I do get the feeling that while United have said Rooney isn’t for sale, if Moyes joins the club and doesn’t like his work rate and attitude when they return to training after the summer break, he won’t want him at the club. If he feels that Rooney’s presence will have a negative effect on the other players that do want to be there and that it could have the potential to set him up for a bad start at his new club, he will surely look to get Rooney out of there as soon as possible.
The new developments in the last 36 hours have made Manchester a very noisy place, and until Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacement is named and Wayne Rooney’s future becomes clearer, it is not going to get any quieter there for the foreseeable future. May has been a jam-packed with surprises so far, and we could well be in for even more before the final ball is kicked later this month.
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