Ferguson showed influence, dominance in Premier League era
Ken Rodney, TSN.ca
5/15/2013 1:04:37 PM
The incredible tenure and career of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson will come to an end on Sunday at The Hawthorns, home ground of West Bromwich Albion. And one of the most amazing aspects of his time in charge has been his success and influence over the English Premier League.
"His drive, ambition, skill, passion and vision have not only shaped Manchester United, but in many ways the game of football as we now know it," said Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore this week.
Ferguson took charge at Manchester United in November of 1986 and inherited a team that was near the bottom of the standings, pushing them into mid-table by the end of his first season in at the helm.
And when United captured the inaugural Premier League title during the 1992-93 season, it was Ferguson's first league title as well as the first won by the club in 26 years.
"The most important achievement was winning the first championship," said Ferguson after collecting his final League title as manager this week. "Once we did that, the door opened and we just grew and grew. In that time we had some fantastic teams."
The dominance they would go on to show over the rest of their League competition from is staggering.
United, under Ferguson, have won the Premier League 13 times while finishing as runners-up an additional five times - out of the 21 seasons that have been contested.
By comparison, perennial contenders Chelsea and Arsenal have three each and are the only others to have won multiple Premier League titles in that span (Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers hold the other two championships).
"You have to respect his decision," said long-time Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "It is sad because it is the end of a remarkable career. He got a lot of praise that he deserves."
United have been three-time defending champions twice and have never finished lower than third in the standings.
On top of that, many of Ferguson's former players have gone on to become managers themselves, including Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes, Roy Keane, Paul Ince, Chris Casper, Darren Ferguson, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Henning Berg. Even more incredible is the fact that 169 others have managed in the Premier League since Ferguson took over at Old Trafford more than 26 years ago.
With the recent dismissal of Roberto Mancini, Manchester City have now had 14 different managers - including former United player Hughes - while Ferguson has been in charge across town.
Along with his 13 League titles, Ferguson has also captured the FA Cup five times and the League Cup four times. Not to mention that Treble in 1999.
Ryan Giggs - a member of the squad for all 13 Premier League title seasons - sums up what Ferguson has meant to the team and League.
"It is a fitting tribute to the manager after so long and so much success," he said. "As much as it is for the team, it's for the manager, for himself, what he has achieved and what he has done to this football club. He deserves everything he has got. He has been brilliant for us all. He is a great manager he is successful and he is a winner. To do it for so long is incredible, he is a fantastic manager."