Life does indeed have a way of playing tricks on you...
I remember back in 1990, the month of January to be specific, the joy that was abundant among us Liverpool fans, as it appeared Manchester United's experiment of bringing Alex Ferguson to our rivals across the Pennines, had failed woefully. They were already the laughing stock of the game as far as we were concerned, so another nail in their coffin would have conveniently pushed them over the precipice.
Three trophyless years and the appearance of 'Go Fergie' placards earlier in the season, had to our overjoyed minds meant the Mancs will have to go back to the drawing board. United had to go to Notts Forest in the third round of the FA Cup and judging by Brian Clough and his team's imperious form at the time, we had all got out our obituary pens and the compositions had begun in earnest.
So, you can imagine our intense irritation, when some young upstart by the name of Mark Robbins, went on to nick a 1-0 victory to save the hide of the 'Glasgow Chewing Gum Machine'! To further rub salt in the wound, they then went on to win a replay in that year's FA Cup and give Fergie his first English trophy.
Over the summer, the Liverpool fans bantered with 'The Rags' and hoped their 'lucky' trophy would be the last for a while, but it slowly began to dawn on us as the season opened, that perhaps we had underestimated the man who used to be Number 9 at Glasgow Rangers.
His youth academy was obviously the project that had taken his eyes off the erstwhile available laurels and like the man who saved his money whilst others frittered theirs, Fergie began to slowly dominate the domestic scene, culminating in the 1992 Premiership title. It was not a beautiful picture for us, but the manner of the success was mersmerising and truth be told, there was a romantic slant which was not lost on the Liverpool demographic. After all, we were football fans....first and foremost.
For those football sucklings who may feel the Liverpool/ Man United rivalry is not real, I refer you to Fergie's post-match comments, after United won the European Cup for the third time. If you cannot be bothered to research the verbatim, let me give you a hint; it had something to do with Liverpool having won the cup five times and how he planned to overhaul that record.
For those of us who sat through the bizarre happenings in that Istanbul stadium back in 2005, the irony was not lost on us at all... any success we experienced was judged against only one club and it was refreshing to see Fergie, the general of 'that club' doing same.
So today, as the announcement came through the airwaves, that same demographic is secretly breathing a huge sigh of relief and hoping we can claim back our position as the club with the most domestic titles. Yes, there are some in that number, who will refuse to show any delight in this retirement, but trust me, the pubs in Liverpool will do a roaring trade this weekend (one half celebrating the departure and the other half downing their sorrows, as their manager is snatched by the big boys...Lol)
In summation, I leave the inimitable Jose Mourinho, who in 2011 after Fergie captured his 47th trophy, said the following:
"It's hard to see any manager following in his footsteps. to stay at one club for so long is incredible in itself. To win as much as he has won will never be repeated...to make matters worse, I see no evidence he is even contemplating retiring at this stage. I think he lives for football. I am not sure what he will do without it."
Frankly Jose, I don't care what he does without football, I am just bloody glad he is gone!
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