Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sir Alex is more than United

When pundits hand out plaudits they can't help but buy into the great game of comparisons.

So Sir Alex Ferguson must be measured against Brian Clough, Bob Paisley, Matt Busby et al. They point to his singular European triumph as evidence that Paisley and Clough surpassed him, they point to his attitude as evidence that "gentleman" Sir Matt was somehow the bigger man.

But for the pundits down south football ends north of Newcastle (many of them would prefer it football stopped north of the trophyless citadel that is the Emirates and Wenger's Bash Street Kids) they rarely take into account what Ferguson did with Aberdeen.

Breaking the Old Firm stranglehold of the game, coming close in the European Cup and winning the Cup Winners Cup meant before he even travelled to Old Trafford Ferguson had already achieved greatness. With Aberdeen Ferguson had already "done a Clough" - although arguably Ferguson's successful run at the Dons was more sustained than Clough's at Forest - with a provincial side.

The achievements at Old Trafford - a bigger club than Clough ever succeeded at - surpass Busby. Which leaves only Bob Paisley and his three European Cups. For my money Ferguson's continued dominance domestically put him at the very least on a par with Paisley.

But when you take the achievements at Aberdeen and United together Ferguson's 10th Premiership is simply further proof that Sir Alex is the best of the best.