Monday, 11 May 2009

United may have pipped Liverpool for the title but is it time for Sir Alex to quit?

I've seen the future - and it's Red.

I'm utterly convinced that events of the last month have laid the foundations for Liverpool to wrest English domination from Manchester United in the years to come.

Swaggering wins over Real Madrid and United speak of a new freedom behind the scenes.

Rick Parry's Long Wave Goodbye and Rafa's New Deal engaging him till 2014. The two headlines are linked. War Is Over.

At 67, does Sir Alex have the appetite or time to build another Manchester United side?

When Sir Alex does quit, one thing's for sure: he'll leave quickly. Learning the lesson of the last time he resigned in 2001, the year-long lap of honour resulted in United unfolding. In February 2002, he agreed to stay on but the short-term damage was done.

What followed was three third-place finishes in four seasons, as Chelsea and Arsenal kept trumping them. The Carling Cup win in 2005? United's first trophy in nearly three years.

Then came Rooney and Ronaldo.

Their progression from prodigious teenage talents to twentysomething world dominators is complete. United are ripe. This quadruple-chasing team is the best ever.

But Rafa's plan is longer-term. He's about twenty years younger than Sir Alex, secure under contract and having won his internal battles for control at Anfield.

While Liverpool plan a £30m warchest for New Rafa, United wonder what Ronnie might say this week about playing for Real Madrid. United are £650m in debt.

What's David Gill doing about succession? How do you follow Fergie? No such problems down the M62.

Liverpool had Paisley after Shankly: with all due respect to Michael Phelan, he's no Fergie.

The Mauve One's departure is the biggest-kept secret in football, but I'm venturing it's crossing his mind to quit at the top: never has this been more applicable even going back to June 1999, it could be sooner rather than later.

United are without peer - or they were into Liverpool exposed some unexpected jitters.

Fergie's about to be crowned a Living Legend, an all-time great - and the countdown to his coronation, the goodbye lap of honour - is twelve months from now - or less.

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