Three amigos bridge generation gap



When Jose Mourinho takes charge of Manchester United in summer 2012 he will have on his coaching staff three recently retired club legends. That’s the scenario posed by the week’s events, with the Portuguese signing on at Real Madrid, while Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville were each offered coaching roles at Old Trafford.

With more than 2,000 club appearances between them, the trio has amassed a wealth of experience at the club that is only surpassed by the manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, himself.

Indeed, with the each now taking UEFA B and A coaching qualifications as the twilight of three magnificent careers approaches, the Scot believes that Scholes, Giggs and Neville will extend their stay at Old Trafford beyond two decades.

“They are living proof for young players that the United system allows players to succeed,” Ferguson told French sports newspaper L’Equipe.

“When they stop playing they will stay. All three are taking their coaching diplomas. I don’t think the club will pass up that much experience.”

Should the amigos remain at Old Trafford beyond their playing careers it is likely each will outlast their manager, who at 68 many pundits feel is unlikely to continue beyond a further two seasons. They will also offer an important element of continuity during what is likely to be a tumultuous period at the club post Ferguson’s retirement.

The risk of turmoil following Ferguson’s walk into the sunset is already noted, with United”s chief executive David Gill promising bond investors that the club will – no pun intended – “manage” the process.  Still, there is little secret in the ceo’s preference for the Portuguese coach to take over at Old Trafford in Ferguson’s wake.

Indeed, while Gill this week claimed he will consult Ferguson on the Scot’s successor there will be few dissenting noises emanating from the manager’s Carrington office if his good friend Mourinho is offered the Old Trafford hot-seat.

“Alex is on a rolling contract. He is doing well, he is happy and he has a good staff who he works very closely with. When he decides he wants to retire he will have a word with me and say ‘The end of this season or next season’,” said Gill this week.

“We would work with him in terms of identifying a replacement. In terms of criteria we will sit down and say ‘What attributes must a manager have? Lots of things come into that. British or European? What experience they have, languages all that sort of thing as well as their track record.

“The final decision will be discussed with Alex, Bobby Charlton and the owners. I think Alex will be the key. He knows people. He will have a big role in advising and being a sounding board.”

Perhaps no surprise then that Mourinho – officially unveiled as Real Madrid manager today after the club concluded negotiations with European champions Inter Milan for the Portuguese’s services – has inserted a summer 2012 get-out clause into his new multi-million Euro contract. After all,  Mourinho’s desire for a return to England is no secret.

Whomever takes over at United – even a manager with Mourinho’s force of personality – will face not only the challenge of leading a huge organisation but Ferguson’s imposing shadow, which pervades every element of the club. Ferguson’s influence, although somewhat diluted through greater delegation, famously extended to every granular detail of the club.

Mourinho is different of course, rarely taking an interest in club matters beyond the first team squad, with little reputation for developing youth or indeed staying at any club for more than a few seasons.

Important then that the club retains a link with the past, with Mourinho’s winning track-record likely to prove attractive to Gill and his paymasters in Tampa.

If – some say when – the former Porto, Chelsea and Inter coach succeeds Ferguson in Manchester then it is United’s triumvirate of playing legends that will offer that crucial role.

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Comments

  1. RobDiablo says:

    How many players (some of them very good) have had to leave United because they could not or would not understand that no player is bigger than the club? So, do we really want a manager who (thinks he) is bigger than the club? I don’t.

  2. wheezer says:

    lets hope he brings Christiano back with him!

  3. all this is speculation . i won;t belive it until it happens .

  4. Ella Patterson says:

    Unless he changes his focus and takes more interest in youth and in club affairs he is not the man for United!

  5. well for starters Sir Alex will still be our manger in 2012 and is not retiring just yet so why suggest mourinho will come in 2012.

    for seconds, Sir Alex will have a say in the next manager, so stop your boring anti-gill stuff right now.

    and finally, where you been during the last day, the skint knights apparntly set to pull out and your nowhere to be found, sad really, quite sad…..but not as sad as you supporting a bunch of poor guys who can’t even afford our great club and wants to take even more money out for themselves then what the glazers take for debt, which brings me to the fact that they want to use debt to buy our club just like the glazers did. did i mention that they have alerady sorted out how to get thier cash back before they ven did the takeover plans, why? because they want our cash for themselves and finally did i mention how they cant even afford us and are simple in it for the money no matter what they are thier mouth piece in must and anti-glazer media say.

    rather have a rich guy buythe club or the glazers stay….not a bunch of skint knights and their idiot sidekicks in wwtrmust (we want to ruin manchester united supporters trust)and sheep little protesting fools who believe anything that does not come from our fantastic club and yet insults the club (ED.).

    and oh yea, we have cash spilling out our ass, so stop making up rubbish and listening to the anti-united media and try believing in our club for once.

    a real manchester united supporter till the end.

    fuck the skint knights and must, and go to hell all you anti-united glory hunting protesters.

    manchetser united to the end.

    • Not quite what to make of that diatribe except to say probably best you believe whatever you want to. I’d rather deal in the facts and the good thing is now they Glazers are forced to be more open and transparent we can take a look at the club’s accounts each quarter and see the utter mess for what it is. If you want to believe United has “cash spilling out of its ass” go for it.

    • Alfonso Bedoya Alfonso Bedoya says:

      Oh my… what a load of ignorant, unrealistic nonsense.

      Look Mate… whether the Red Knights are the answer to our problems or not, isn’t really the issue. We were a debt free club, generating enough money to compete with any club in the game… Since the Glazers hijacked United, over £400 million of our profits have been spent servicing the debt they saddled us with, paying consultant fees, and taking personal wages… £400 million… how in all your daft reasoning can you possible find anything positive in that?

  6. and did i mention

    SIR ALEX FERGUSON WILL STILL BE OUR MANAGER IN 2012 AND IS NOT RETIRING ANYTIME SOON.

    LONG LIVE SIR ALEX.

  7. and giggs, scholes and neville being coaches at our club in the future…..how freakin’ awesome is that.

    united to the end.

  8. Im still 50/50 on Mourinho. He is a master Tactician though his lack of immersion in any club he has been at is indeed a worry. If he joined Utd in 2012 he could possibly have won La Liga with Real and done it in the biggest leagues in Europe. Perhaps after this he might see United as his long term future and embark on building his own empire.

    Aj, you know, one day SAF is not going to be the manager of Manchester United and being a supporter of something does not necessarily require over zealous, unwavering, blind faith.

  9. Why does anyone dignify ‘aj’s’ keyboard warrior comments with a answer. People like that should not be encouraged to form any type of opinion regarding our club.

  10. Mourinho is an amusing, interesting bloke but he’s all ego and the thought of him turning United into the Jose show turns my stomach to be honest. He also produces defensive, unattractive teams. I couldn’t see him comittinf himself to United beyond 4 years top – is that what we want?
    Maybe there’s a fear of promoting from within the club because of the Wilf McGuinness experience? Otherwise I’d love to see Ole get the job. Failing that Guardiola.

  11. mop head says:

    i think our tactics have been getting progressively more negative since the glory days of 99, and for me hiring Mourinho would just continue the trend. I would like to see Moyes take the post. Everton play good attractive, passing footbal, he seems cut from the same cloth as Fergie, a man who wouldnt take any nonsense from big egos and he’s kissed and made up with Rooney after their falling out a few years ago. He deserves his chance. It annoys me when people assume he wont be able to handle it. Give the man a shot and we can see for ourselves.

    • mop head says:

      oh and aj, while you’re bumming the glazers try and defend the massive rise in ticket prices since they took over, a lot of fans are suffering due to their regime.

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