Ferguson not to blame for Man Utd’s current troubles

Refer to article, “Why Ferguson is the root cause of United’s current troubles” (The New Times, March 17, 2018).

Refer to article, “Why Ferguson is the root cause of United’s current troubles” (The New Times, March 17, 2018).

I agree with James Munyaneza’s view that it was a mistake for Sir Alex Ferguson to appoint David Moyes as his successor at Manchester United. But I don’t agree with the view that SAF (Sir Alex Ferguson) left a weak squad and is therefore responsible for current issues.

SAF’s error of judgment was corrected 10 months after his retirement with the sacking of David Moyes!

However other factors are responsible for the current malaise:

1. Departure of CEO, David Gill;

2. Inexperience of Ed Woodward (the current chief executive);

3. Lack of footballing structure, such as director of football, etc

4. Poor recruitment.

SAF left the core of a very good team on which to build:

1. David De Gea (then aged 23) is still undisputed number 1;

2. Patrice Evra (32) left United to reach 2 European Champions League finals with Juventus;

3. Rio Ferdinand (35) and Vidic (32) still had at least one decent season each;

4. Johnny Evans (25) was a decent defender that was still being coveted for by Manchester City in early 2018;

5. Rafael Da Silva (23) was a decent right back;

6. Chris Smalling (24) and Phil Jones (21), even if assisted by De Gea behind them and despite their documented weakness, have been part of the meanest defences in the Premier League over the last few seasons;

7. Michael Keane (20) has matured into a 25m pounds defender and an England international;

8. Michael Carrick (32) still had a decent three seasons in him and is only retiring;

9. Darren Fletcher (29), despite illness, was lately in the midfield for West Brom and Stoke City sides that have beaten Man Utd a few times;

10. Ashley Young (28), Antonio Valencia (28), Shinji Kagawa (24) and Jesse Lingard (20) are important players even after United has spent nearly 600m;

11. Robin Van Persie, then at 30, had at least two decent seasons in him;

12. In attack, Rooney (28), Javier ‘Chicarito’ Hernandez (25), Luís Nani (27), and Danny Welbeck (23) weren’t really a bad bunch on which you could build!

SAF’s only problem is that he was a genius who could make average players look good and all his successors failed to build on those he left behind instead squandering money through unnecessary acquisitions, thus failing to build a strong team from the players inherited.

You can’t have all managers coming and wanting to buy a whole squad of 25 players! Jose Mourinho is even failing to get the most out of his own purchases! That cannot be blamed on Fergie.

Once it was clear that Moyes wasn’t the right manager and sacked, Fergie’s responsibility ended. The problems of bad purchases or mismanagement (Angle Di Maria) after that is the responsibility of Ed Woodward and the owners.

Fred Sezikeye

Dear James,

Thank you for trying to explain Utd woes. However, like you put it somewhere in your article, the Ferguson factor is indeed farfetched. The football environment has since changed that even if Fergie didn’t retire Manchester United would still be struggling. All clubs have become more competitive than they were five years ago thanks to broadcast money came in from Sky TV, BT etc.



I agree with you 50%. It would have been nice to give Alex Ferguson’s successors a critical review too to make this comprehensive. How about a part two? Well thought through article; good work!

Sam Kebongo


“It’s, therefore, surprising that United’s manager for 26 years failed to thoroughly prepare a United future beyond him. ...” You can prepare as much as you like and groom someone you believe is the best candidate to succeed you, but a future under somebody else’s responsibility is out of your control. Either you are in charge, or somebody else is. And, if somebody else is, any failures are theirs, not yours.

This is the iron law of management, in all walks of life.

Mwene Kalinda

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