Who Will Be The Man To Replace The Man Who Replaced Fergie?

Published: Apr 23, 2014 20:41pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Apr 23, 2014 @ 08:41pm EDT

 

So it is official and now the search starts again for another Manchester United boss. David Moyes has been gone now for over twenty four hours and the stock prices actually improved a little. So does this make David Moyes the shortest serving Manager at United? Nope. October 1926 George ‘Lal’ Hilditch was hired and April 1927 he was out.

 

The fact is also that after their last successful manager, Sir Matt Busby, they went through a similar situation. With Busby still at the club Wilf McGuinness was installed as manager, in June 1969 and was fired by Christmas 1970. For a decade after Busby first stepped down Manchester United went through five different managers and suffered relegation and it wasn’t for another twenty six years before they would win the title again.

 

Right now United are in danger of going down the same road and although the need for instant success means managers do not get much time to turn things around it also means that all that debt wrapped up within the club could see it fall quickly if the next manager is another flop. For that reason I think United should, and will, take their time.

 

These are the candidates being touted by the media as possible successors and some that have not been mentioned before.

 

LOUIS VAN GAAL:

The 62 year old, Dutch National team coach is odds on favorite to take the hot seat next. At 62 he certainly wouldn’t be a long term replacement but maybe he can get the side overhauled in such a way that Manchester United will at least be competitive again.

His Managerial accomplishments certainly are quite impressive, winning the League in three different countries with four different teams. The Dutch Eredivisie was won three times as Ajax Manager in the mid 1990's and then again with AZ Alkmaar in 2009. Back to back Spanish titles were won as head coach of Barcelona in 1998 and 1999 and a single Bundesliga as Bayern Munich head coach a decade later.

The last time he had won a European trophy though was back in 1997, will that be considered experience or too long ago to be recognized in today’s climate. Two years at Bayern Munich, leaving two years before Pep Guardiola, although he did make the Final in 2010. There he lost 2-0 to Inter Milan, where Englishman Howard Webb was referee.

The pluses for United, and the boxes he ticks, is that he does have that European experience and has been at big clubs, with big egos. He also promotes an attacking style of football and when talking with the press he is quite blunt and tolerates little of the stupidness some media representatives deal with.

 

RYAN GIGGS:

Playing for Manchester United, whether at youth level or senior, since Sir Alex Ferguson took charge. Mr Manchester United for sure it would be one of the more romantic appointments the board could make. However a great player does not automatically make a great manager. Alan Shearer was a Newcasltle legend as a player but didn’t have the greatest time as Manager. The same could be said of Tim Sherwood at Tottenham, although there is a whole backroom drama with that situation. Even Bryan Gunn for Norwich City had legend status as a player but as their manager was an unmitigated disaster.

Giggs does have until the end of the season to make his case and I think that although he should not be the one to take the seat right now, he could certainly shadow the previous mentioned candidate, and be ready to go when the time comes. I have mentioned Ryan Giggs here but the same case could be made for Nicky Butt or Paul Scholes if any of those would be interested in moving into the hot seat in the future.

 

JURGEN KLOPP:

At 46 this guy would certainly tick the box as far as the long term future of the club would be concerned. For almost two decades he was at FSV Mainz both as player and then manager before moving to Borussia Dortmund.

Since moving to Dortmund in 2008 he has won the German title twice, the German Super Cup and were runners up in the all German Champions League Final last year, losing to the next candidate’s Bayern Munich side. Already in the Dortmund seat for six seasons he has ruled himself out of contention stating that he has another six years on a contract which he classes as unbreakable. The thing is that he signed that contract at the beginning of this season and maybe had Manchester United not tried to go for the cheap option then maybe he would have moved there.

 

PEP GUARDIOLA:

You can pretty much look at the previous candidate and copy and paste in the positives. A young, successful Manager who can handle a big club and all that goes with it. Obviously many people will point to Guardiola as the more successful of the two and, of course, he has done it in numerous countries with numerous clubs.

As a player he has won pretty much everything domestically, and that would be impressive enough on its own. However, as Manager, he spent four seasons as Barcelona head coach winning the Spanish title three seasons in a row. He has won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup not once but each one twice.

Once again Manchester United were slow and may have missed out on this guy in favor of David Moyes with Guardiola stating that Sir Alex Ferguson and he had dinner in New York before he took on the Bayern Munich job. It was unclear, even to Pep, if he had been offered the job but certainly the German moved quickly to announce his arrival. It was made public in January he would be joining five months later.

 

DIEGO SIMEONE:

43 year old Argentinian and current Atletico Madrid head coach has had his name banded around and he could be a good choice. Currently in the Semi Final of the Champions League they knocked out Barcelona in the Quarter Finals and are now taking a goalless draw to Stamford Bride in the second leg.

Can he follow up on the Europa League win from two seasons ago? If he can get over that Jose Mourinho hurdle then maybe he will show more of the caliber needed to take that step forward.

 

CARLO ANCELOTTI:

Two years in English football as Chelsea head coach means this guy is the most experienced of the foreign coaches with Premier League football and maybe that could be a factor with any decision taken on this guy. He did oversee the Premier League and FA Cup double of the 2009-10 season and that has to be another big check mark next to his name.

At 54 he is not too old for it to have to be a short term fix but does he have what it takes in Europe? The last fifteen years has seen him at big name clubs such as Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG and now Real Madrid and won the Champions League twice. The last time was in 2007 with AC Milan but he does have his current side, Real Madrid, in this years Semi Final and so, like Simeone, could push his name further up the list if they make the Final.

 

JOSE MOURINHO:

I used to think this guy was quite funny and a breath of fresh air when he first came to England. This season, however, he has been moody, moaning, complaining and has got on a lot of peoples last nerve. For that reason I think he would be the perfect fit for United. Before David Moyes was appointed Manchester United manager this Portuguese man was making overtures toward Manchester so now the question is, after being initially shunned, would he consider an approach.

We all know his list of accomplishments as a Manager and has pretty much won everything Manchester United would ever want to win. He has never been able to handle an English season and lifted the Champions League, despite having the wealth of Chelsea behind him.

This season could be very different though as he has now got Chelsea in the Semi Finals of the Champions League. He has not gone a single calendar year without winning a trophy of some sort and so if a room can be found big enough for the egos of the United players, past and present and Mourinho’s to sit down and have a talk, maybe he would be the perfect candidate. It would certainly put the intense Chelsea - United rivalry up a notch.

 

STEVE BRUCE:

No one has really mentioned this guy but he really could be the candidate flying under the radar. An ex Manchester United player, he won it all in the ten years at United as a player, three titles and runners up three times. Three FA Cups, a League Cup, three Charity Shields and a European Cup Winners Cup and Euro Super Cup.

As a Manager he has cut his teeth at clubs in lower leagues and a lower reputation but after getting promoted with Hull City he now will get to lead his side out in an FA Cup Final.

At 53 years old it would be good to give an Englishman a chance at one of England’s biggest clubs.

 

MARK HUGHES:

Ex Manchester United hero back in the Ron Atkinson years he left for Barcelona and Bayern Munich before returning two years later under Alex Ferguson. Due to the fact that he managed Manchester City a few years ago and spent a lot of money on players who were below par and who were subsequently hard to sell would be a big question mark against this candidate.

As a Manager he was a sensation at Blackburn before he left to take the Manchester City job and really hasn’t set the managerial world on fire. The decent signings of Pablo Zabaleta, Shaun Wright Philips and Vincent Kompany were countered with big money signings of Jo, Ben Tal Haim and Roque Santa Cruz.

Then to Fulham he went but was still frustrated about the Manchester City firing and ended up quitting claiming he needed to further his experiences. Later on he stated that quitting Fulham when he did was probably a mistake and I would have to agree with that. From there he went to QPR and again spent big money on trying to save the club from relegation. On the last day of the season he did manage that, despite losing the final game away to Manchester City and handing the title to United’s rivals.

Now at Stoke City he has had some sort of a revival. I think he would be better to stay here and build for the future rather than gamble again on a move up. At 50 years old I am sure his time will come but that time is not right now, and I think he will know this.

 

RENE MEULENSTEEN:

Rene has worked at United in a variety of roles throughout his career. From the youth in the early 2000's to the reserves in 2006 he left for the Brondby head coach position before returning as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant from 2007-2013.

It is true that he has no big management experience but he really has been more entwined in the back corridors of the club for more than many others. Despite all that experience with this particular club he is still only 50 years old and although he too didn’t do too well at Fulham recently with the right coaching staff and time, he might very well be a secret contender.

 

JURGEN KLINSMANN:

There is talk, mostly from over this side of the pond, that Jurgen Klinsmann could be an outside bet for the job. I understand where this rumor is coming from because the Ex German International has done a fantastic job with the US National side. The Glaziers, being American, could be looking closer to home for their man.

There are major problems with this as a theory though. The Glaziers, love them or hate them will allow the board to make a footballing decision based on the football knowledge and know how displayed by each candidate. That will eliminate Jurgen’s American ties straight away and so it falls back on his record. As Manager of Germany he guided them to a disastrous Euro 2004 in Portugal before a vast improvement in the following World Cup before then declining to extend his contract. From there he managed Bayern Munich for a season before a two year break from football. Since 2011 he has been the US National team coach and how he performs at this World Cup could go some way to deciding his future. For me though I do not expect him to take a job in English football, but if he did I think he would certainly have his eye on a potential Tottenham Hotspur seat rather than the one in Manchester.

 

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER/ ROY KEANE/ ERIC CANTONA:

Ole, along with Roy Keane and Eric Cantona have all been names thrown about potential replacements but I think none of these have any credibility for various reasons. Roy Keane, even if he hadn’t just taken the Ireland job as Martin O’Neills assistant, would be a desperate appointment since he and Sir Alex have been involved in a major verbal scrap since both their first autobiographies came out. Keane and Fergie in the same building again? I just think that would be more problems than it would be worth.

Eric Cantona is the director of soccer at the New York Cosmos. I am not sure if he has any coaching badges and even if he did then I think the lack of clubs managed since retiring from football almost two decades ago speaks volumes. He needs to stick to poetry and films and I highly doubt he is even on the radar of anyone charged with looking for United’s next manager.

Now to OGS. He now has experience of English football, that’s the good thing. He sometimes has looked clueless as manager of Cardiff, and that’s the bad thing. On January 2nd he came into the Welsh club charged with keeping them up. At that time Cardiff were outside of the relegation zone with eighteen points from twenty games and now, fifteen games later, they have added just twelve points and look odds on to go down at the end of the season.

 

MY OPINION:

I would not put it past Jose Mourinho to be throwing his hat into the ring for this one but right now I would have to say that the most sensible option for United would be a combo of two of these candidates.

I would suggest trying to get in Van Gaal after the World Cup to reset the team and get them firing together and in the right direction. It wasn't lost on me that in the David Moyes statement he neglected to thank the players and none of the usually social media active players were silent also. There needs to be a big man in that dressing room to make the big decisions and pop some of the egos.

In a season or two, after being groomed by Van Gaal, I think Ryan Giggs would be the romantic option for the United fans and would certainly be more equipped to deal with the pressure than he currently is.

 


 

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Jason Bardwell
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