Fergie trusts players, do fans?

September 1, 2009 Tags: Opinion 10 comments

The transfer window shut firmly today and with it United’s business for the summer ended. Having brought in two senior players and a further three in the ‘promising’ category, manager Sir Alex Ferguson has declared himself happy with his squad. But after the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez earlier in the summer, the question is, do the fans feel the same?

“The bulk of the £80m fee we got from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo is still there, of course, and it seems to be burning a hole in the pockets of a lot of fans,” said Ferguson today.

“But you don’t suddenly scrap your transfer policy because of one defeat even if it was a bad one [to Burnley at Turf Moor].

“I have explained our strategy, based on my confidence in our squad with a few new faces, existing players maturing and more eager beavers on the way up, and I have no intention of abandoning it. I know we have the right squad.”

It’s a commendable show of faith by Ferguson, whose transfer policy – a few exceptions aside – has centred on buying players under-25 in recent seasons. It’s a policy that flourished with the development of Cristiano Ronaldo; bought for £12 million, sold for £80 million six years later.

Ferguson has built such a bank of credit over the seasons that to question his judgement is churlish. When it comes to players, the manager is normally right. In youth Ferguson may trust, but even the great man cannot guarantee success. For every hit there is also considerable risk in betting the house on youth. Indeed, of the younger players brought into the squad in the past two seasons none have conclusively proven that they will make it at the highest level. Coming into the new season there is considerable young talent at Ferguson’s disposal. Yet there are question marks over first team regulars Anderson, Nani and Ben Foster. Moreover there is no certainty that Fabio and Rafael da Silva, Gabriel Obertan, Mame Biram Diouf, Kiko Macheda or Danny Welbeck will make it either. Nor 23 year old new signing Antonio Valencia for that matter.

United must also deal with the inevitable decline of Gary Neville, Edwin van der Sar, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs; and the increasing injury prevalence of Rio Ferdinand as he enters his 30s. The result is that United cannot possibly line-up with 11 top class players as they have in the past. Ferguson has an awesome squad at his disposal but one with fewer proven stars than in the past. Indeed, only the aforementioned Ferdinand, together with Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney can reasonably be described as world class this season.

United’s midfield is of particular concern. While well stocked, it is light in terms of proven quality.

There are also question marks about how the team will adapt to Ferguson’s tactics this season which – necessitated by the departure of Ronaldo – have evolved from a flexible three up front to a more conventional two.

That’s a lot of uncertainty and risk. A dip into the top end of the transfer market could have mitigated some of that. Ferguson felt it unnecessary and time almost always proves him right.


venu - September 2, 2009 Reply

I guess the season’s key word is going to be “consistency”. Put together, the squad should out last the other XIs. Attrition and rotation, again, are the only way i see us winning anything this year! Unless there’s a hat and some one is pulling something out!!!Whole being greater than sum of parts and all that jazz?

ManU - September 2, 2009 Reply

As MU fans we would prefer Fergi to buy at least a goalkeeper,a winger and a playmaker all world class standard.The seniors have to go like it or not due lack of pace and form. Player like John Oshea has been useless eversince he joined MU. His lack of pace and creativity is more often seen during every match he played and why Fergi is still keeping him.Infact releasing Gerard Pique was a big mistake that caused MU the Champion League.

Pez - September 2, 2009 Reply

“Infact releasing Gerard Pique was a big mistake that caused MU the Champion League.”-You really do consistently
make stupid points!

pj stretford ender - September 2, 2009 Reply

I think fergie will regret not buying this summer . we might keep up with chelsea domestically but i doubt it they never lost any of their top players .
In europe i think united will struggle to the point that qualifying from our group will be tough , this will be down to a few things .
Number 1 fergies ever increasing negative tactics
number 2 the poorest midfield i can remember for many a year
number 3 fergie not buying a couple of quality players with the ronaldo , you cannot lose the best player in the world and not miss him let alone replace him with free transfers and promising reserves.

fergie has to keep justifying himself in the press and keep telling all the supporters its not the glazers curbing his spending , i believe the money went to servicing the debt and not because we already have the strongest squad in europe

j-diz - September 2, 2009 Reply

you forgot jonny evans – id say hes done enough to prove himself, as much as anyone his age can do anyway. personally, im not doubting fergie for a second. and darron gibson might turn out to be a solution for our midfield, though probably not this season.

Ed - September 2, 2009 Reply

Exactly. For me, he’s not under question…

Marco - September 2, 2009 Reply

I think the gaffer would know things that we fans can’t even begin to guess at and if he says the squad is good enough, I’ll take him at his word. And if it isn’t, I’ve got no doubts that he will buy whoever he needs to buy in January.
After all, buying a superstar player doesn’t guarantee success either. Remember Veron? With youth, you at least have a chance to mould and shape them into the United ethos.
Personally I think our biggest loss over the past few seasons has been Queiroz. He complement SAF very well, especially when it came to tactical nous. Oh well…
Ob-la-di, ob-la-da…life goes on…

malteser - September 2, 2009 Reply

Ed, don’t you think that Fergie is doing the right thing in risking a season, potentially ending potless, and discovering which players are up to it or not?

I think this season is vital for many players, even established one like Carrick, to show their mettle. We had Ronaldo and to lesser extent Tevez able to pull a rabbit out of the hat and bail us out.

Are the likes of Anderson, Nani able to step plate? How will Carrick fare having to handle more responsibility? Will Foster show he has what it takes to get the No.1 jersey?

Instead of looking at this season as a potential bad one, I think it is an interesting one and I am quite looking forward seeing how various players perform now that they’re hiding on nothing.

OD - September 2, 2009 Reply

Ed,let’s be honest with ourselves. MU probably overachieved last 3 years(3PL,1Eup Cup, etc).Fergie, most probably, acknowledge that and he didn’t want to spend.(providing that the 80million are available) as 4th PL is less probable without CR

Devilton - September 3, 2009 Reply

Ok, I know i’m going to get slated for this, but perhaps it’s a good thing that SAF hasn’t bought this season. And perhaps it won’t be the end of the world if we don’t win the title for a 4th time in a row. As it stands, winning 4 on the trot is something few if any English team has ever done. The fans and the team itself expects it, but if that doesn’t happen you can bet that SAF will come back hungrier next year.

I agree that buying in an inflated market for the sake of it makes no sense and with Real snapping up all the talent we were always going to pay way over the odds. I personally don’t think we have the squad to win on all fronts and have a sneaking feeling we will not get past the QF of the champions league this year. I hope we can kick Liverpool of their fucking perch, but even if we don’t I’ll be happy as long as the dippers don’t get to #19.

Looking at the current squad I feel this is team in transition and while we will remain in the top 4 and challenge till the last day I do feel the hunger might have gone from some of the players and a team like Chelsea who has strengthened and gone without trophies for the last few years will be tough to beat.

I hope i’m wrong and I trust SAF in whatever course he steers the club in. I don’t think a title less season will be the end of something glorious…

I know it will be the beginning of something new.

In Fergie we Trust!

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