A soccer legend has decided to leave the game. Sir Alex Ferguson has decided the time is right... after 27 years as the undisputed, and not too far from undefeated, boss at Manchester United, Sir Alex is leaving the soccer sideline. He will continue with Man U as an ambassador and board member, but his managerial career has ended.
It is impossible to consider one man in American sports that matches up to Sir Alex. In longevity and franchise stature, he is like the Dallas Cowboys' legendary coach Tom Landry. He failed in his early years as a coach, before finding it and making it big-- a lot like the New England Patriots' Bill Belichick. He was the founder and nurturer of a dynasty-- much like the Boston Celtics' Red Auerbach or the Bulls' and Lakers' Phil Jackson. And like Jackson, he retired with his team on top.
He shepherded four generations of Man United players to greatness. He has had players from around the globe contribute to success. He also directly-- and indirectly-- had a role in the success of American goalkeeper Tim Howard. Howard was Sir Alex's number 1 in 2005 and 2006, before finding trouble in the net and was replaced by Edwin Van der Sar. But the good manager didn't give up on Howard-- he saw the talent in the American player, and loaned him to Everton. That was some loan-- seven years and counting, Howard is still Everton's Number 1 goalkeper.
The legacy of Sir Alex Ferguson will be batted around, and considered, and analyzed to death in the days to come. Suffice it to say-- his record, his trophies, and his success speak for themselves. Here's to Sir Alex, and what I hope is a successful retirement.
That's my take... I'm Tom Lee.