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Monday, 15 April 2013

THE OGA AT THE TOP

When we cast our mind to management in English football in recent times our minds go through a long list of managers who have come and gone in the English premier league.
But when we take it a little further to narrow it down to managers who have achieved great things in the league, we still have a handful on managers to mention, but going further down to narrow it to Managers who have seen it all in the premier league and who have help shape the league in to what it is now, then we realize that there is truly only one "Oga at the top". And that is the Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Manchester United 2 - 0 victory over stoke city at the weekend was his 900th victory as manager of Manchester United. A feat only a few can even dream of, talk less of trying to achieve it. The nearest to the Real "Oga at the top" in terms of longevity in a particular club is the Arsenal Boss, Arsene Wenger, who have been at the club for over 15years.
            Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful manager in British football history – winning more than 30 trophies during his time in charge of the Reds. Yet despite more than two decades at the United helm he remains focused on increasing that tally, bringing yet more silverware to Old Trafford.
The Reds boss enjoyed a playing career north of the border that saw him take in spells with Queen's Park, St Johnstone, Dunfermline, Glasgow Rangers, Falkirk and Ayr United. But it is not for his playing of the game that Sir Alex was to become a success.
Following a spell out of the game he moved into coaching, taking up the role
of manager of East Stirlingshire, St Mirren then Aberdeen. It was his time at Pittodrie where he earned his reputation as a top coach. He broke the Glasgow dominance of Scottish football to lead Aberdeen to three Scottish titles, four Scottish cups, one League Cup and one European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Following the sacking of Ron Atkinson as manager of Manchester United, the Old Trafford hierarchy moved quickly for his services. They got their man on 6 November 1986.
Ferguson inherited a dispirited team of underachievers who had consistently, to their supporters’ discontent, failed to break Liverpool’s domination He was initially worried that many of the players, such as Norman Whiteside, Paul McGrath and Bryan Robson were drinking too much and was "depressed" by their level of fitness, but he managed to increase the players' discipline and United climbed up the table to finish the season in 11th place, having been 21st (second from bottom) when he took over.
Stuck in the bottom four of the Division One table, Ferguson immediately set about attempting to stave off the very real threat of relegation. Without resorting to the transfer market, he guided United up the table to an eleventh place finish.
By now it was clear to Ferguson that he faced a major job in turning the club around. United were an entertaining side but one that seemed unable to cope with the more physical aspects of League football. In his second season the Reds fared better finishing second behind Liverpool, but the position painted a false picture. The turning point came in the 1989/90 season.
Following a run of games in which the Reds were drawn away in every round, United picked up their first silverware of the Ferguson era. Lee Martin scoring the only goal in a final replay against Crystal Palace to in the FA Cup.
This first trophy opened the flood gates. The European Cup Winners’ Cup was won the following season in Rotterdam, Barcelona defeated 2-1 thanks to a brace from Mark Hughes. Then in 1991/02 the League Cup was added to United’s list of honours.
Sadly the title remained elusive. It was the Holy Grail to United fans, the 26 championships free years being exacerbated by Liverpool’s dominance of the domestic and European game.
In 1992/93 the long wait for the League championship came to an end. The Reds, inspired by £1m signing Eric Cantona, pipping Aston Villa in the final weeks of the season.
The shackles were broken: the double followed in 1993/94, the double-Double (with ‘kids’) in 1995/96, and another title in 1997. Finally United were matching off-field might with on-field success. Liverpool’s dominance was well and truly over.
Sir Alex’s greatest achievement came in 1998/99. No side before or since has achieved a treble haul of Premiership title, FA Cup and European Cup. On an
unforgettable night in Barcelona his decision to throw on substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer assured history was made. The pair scored injury-time goals to win the Champions League and complete the treble.
Ferguson was knighted following that success and some suggested he should retire, believing his desire would wane following the realisation of a dream. Not a bit of it. Another title followed in 1999/2000 and he made it three-in-row in 2000/01. His eighth Premiership duly arrived in 2002/03; his fifth FA Cup came a year later, against Millwall in Cardiff.
The Reds had by now entered a period of rebuilding. The side of homegrown players he’d first put together in 1995/96 was now breaking up and he’d recruited new stars like Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo to spark a new era of success.
The rebuilding paid off with victory in the Carling Cup in 2005/06 and a ninth Premier League trophy in 2006/07. In May 2007 Sir Alex swooped for three players - Anderson, Nani and Owen Hargreaves - to bolster an already strong squad. This evolving team claimed more glory in 2007/08, defending the Premier League title and securing Sir Alex's second Champions League triumph.
United followed European success by
winning the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in December 2008. The Reds then claimed the Carling Cup in March 2009 by beating Tottenham on penalties in the final.
On 16 May 2009, United achieved what had seemed an impossible mission when Sir Alex arrived in 1986, equalling Liverpool's long-standing record of 18 league championships. Beating Liverpool to the 2008/09 crown - Sir Alex's 11th title in 17 seasons - made the feat even sweeter

With 26 years as manager of Manchester United, he is the longest serving manager in their history after overtaking Sir Matt Busby's record on 19 December 2010. His tenure is also the longest of all the current League managers. During this time, Ferguson has won many awards and holds many records including winning Manager of the Year most times in British football history. In 2008, he became the third British manager to win the European Cup on more than one occasion, after Brian Clough and Bob Paisley.
 He was knighted in 1999 for his services to the game and also holds the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen.
In conclusion we say Cheers to the real "Oga at the top"

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