As an unashamed football (not soccer, dammit) fan, I must confess not to always having the highest regard for Sir Alex Ferguson, who will lead out his beloved Manchester United squad for his 1,000th match in charge as manager. He can be an irascible old fellow, and his carping about the decisions of referees is tiresome.
One cannot, however, doubt his passion for the game or his record of success in winning a hatful of trophies, including the European Champions League cup in 1999, as well as his careful and often fatherly nurturing of a raft of wonderful young players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and of course David Beckham.
By the rapid hire-and-fire standards of modern football, Fergie’s longevity is a wonder to behold. He reigns above ManU with every bit as much pomp as that other great Scotsman to have managed United, Sir Matt Busby (the man who probably did more than any other mortal to create the great club that it is today).
And Ferguson’s tenure has coincided with football’s rise to unparalleled commercial success, and whether one is bored senseless by sport or an addict like yours truly, one cannot doubt that Ferguson and Manchester United have played a huge part in making football the successful enterprise it is now.