Challenging Fergie

by Mystical Mike

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

It’s been over a decade since Manchester United’s youngsters came to prominence and won Premier League after Premier League with players groomed for nothing but success by Sir Alex Ferguson. Now four of his protégés will be conspiring against him in the top flight in an ever growing pupil vs teacher fixture list. So who will come out on top? Fergie will surely finish above them all but which one of his former players can make the biggest impact? Here are the challengers…


Roy Keane (Sunderland)

It was always going to be important for Sunderland to simply survive last season after their disastrous last run in the top flight. Everyone gave them much more of a chance under Keane and the Irishman delivered in style. Some crucial late goals and a bit of luck helped along the way but Keane has installed the same steely determination in his side that he had as a player. And let’s just face it, who would want to face him after a defeat?! This season, he will be looking to improve and hunt a top half of the table spot but it could be tough to break up to the next level.


Mark Hughes (Man City)

Hughes was a dead cert for a future job at Old Trafford, eventually replacing Sir Alex. But that was until his summer move to arch rivals City this summer. Now Hughes will have to do a lot to win back some of the United fans that worshipped him before. Ironically, his respect will go up should City beat United in the two fixtures this season. Hughes has a tough job replacing the popular Sven-Goran Eriksson (who’d ever have thought we’d hear that!) and will bring his own ideas to the City of Manchester Stadium.

But chairman Shinawatra isn’t too patient, as we saw by Sven’s sacking and Hughes will have to impress consistently. The move could work against Hughes in two ways- one that United fans think a lot less of him and two that City fans don’t take a former United hero to their hearts but he’s a good boss and should take them towards the top six.


Steve Bruce (Wigan)

Bruce is the oldest head to come up against his old boss and having tried with Birmingham, now tales charge of Wigan. Bruce was at the helm at the end of last season at the JJB and worked wonders to keep them up. United won the title with a victory against Bruce’s men but the former United defender will be looking for revenge this time out.

Bruce has experience on his side, something that the other three pretenders to Fergie’s throne don’t have. But he will do well to take Wigan anywhere near the top half and you would expect a United double over them.


Paul Ince (Blackburn)

The latest Premier League boss to challenge Sir Alex is the “Guvnor” Paul Ince. Ince has a lot of experience in the lower leagues but this is his first shot at the big time. Blackburn have taken a gamble and Ince has already lost his first battle in David Bentley leaving for Spurs. Holding on to Roque Santa Cruz is the next job but Ince will do well to emulate the last former United player at Ewood Park, Mark Hughes.

So who’s next to challenge Ferguson? Will more of his old boys return to take a shot at him before he retires? Will we see Eric Cantona announced as the shock new boss of West Bromwich Albion? Will Paul Parker shack up at Fulham? Or will David Beckham shock the world by becoming the new manager at Anfield?

One thing is for sure…these guys have learned from the master and as their experience grows more and more people will link them to the United hot seat once Ferguson leaves. The race may only just be beginning to fill the biggest shoes in English football.


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  • Stevie

    i think Mark Hughes make a big mistake taking the City job, especially as Blackburn were a better side. I can’t United fans excepting him. Mind you, George Graham managed both Arsenal and the Spuds.

    I think the job has got Keano’s name written all over it.

  • dexylongshot

    Me too, Citeh are gonna struggle once that mug Shinatra gets pulled up by the Rozzas.
    The thing, is I pointed out months ago that Shinatra was all spondulicks and no sense.
    It made No1 in Thailand as well…..
    all together now, Sven Sven Sven!!!

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