Who will get the Manchester United job?
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the fourth Manchester United manager to face the axe of the post Sir Alex Ferguson era. United’s humiliating 4-1 away defeat to newly promoted Watford was the final straw for Solskjaer, who had been living on borrowed time since the Red Devils’ 5-0 home humiliation against Liverpool.
His forced departure further confounds the various issues United have endured since Ferguson retired after 27-years at the helm of Old Trafford.
But while the 79-year-old has not called the shots from the dugout since 2013, he still commands a significant influence at the club.
Instead, his power has simply been repackaged and transitioned into the board room, where his voice continues to carry significant weight in the red half of Manchester.
And barely 24 hours after another huge decision at Old Trafford, Express Sport considers four huge decisions Ferguson has been involved him since his retirement.
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Any manager attempting to fill the void vacated by Ferguson’s would have had an almost impossible job – fortunately Ferguson was there to essentially handpick the manager he felt could succeed him.
And he selected fellow compatriot and then Everton boss David Moyes to become the first manager to take on the poison chalice at Old Trafford.
Unfortunately, Moyes struggled to fill Ferguson’s enormous shoes, and the infamous United fear factor left behind by Ferguson dissipated week on week.
It is also believed Ferguson played a key role in the decision to relieve Moyes of his duties barely ten months after he was hand selected as the heir to the United throne.
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At the beginning of the summer, the footballing world could not believe its ears when several reports were stating Cristiano Ronaldo was on his way to Manchester City.
And neither could Ferguson, who reportedly dropped everything he was doing to call the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and convince him to return to Old Trafford.
It was a sensational involvement from Ferguson, confirming the influence the Scot still has at Old Trafford.
“I just couldn’t imagine him playing for Manchester City,” Ferguson said to Viaplay.
“A lot of people played their part, and I contributed knowing that, really, Cristiano wanted to come here. That was important. It worked very well.”
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If there was any doubt of the long-lasting effect of Ferguson’s words, then look no further than summer signing Raphael Varane. The Frenchman was signed from Real Madrid for a fee believed to be around £41m including add-ons in the summer.
However, while Ferguson did not involve himself in the move this summer, the central defender opened up about a conversation both he and his mother had with Ferguson ten years ago.
At the time, Varane was a highly promising 18-year-old defender at Lens, and Ferguson did everything he could to convince him, and his mother, Old Trafford was the place to be. While then Real Madrid sporting director Zinedine Zidane convinced Varane to move to the Bernabeu, the Frenchman said Ferguson’s words had such a profound effect that a move to United was a “destiny”.
“It was a special moment for me and my family,” Varane told Sky Sports News after his summer move to United. “It’s amazing to meet a person like him at 18. You know, after that, it’s your destiny. Ten years in Madrid and now I’m here.”
Hiring and firing
Ferguson’s shadow looms over the club as much as the Sir Alex Ferguson stand towers over the football pitch.
It is believed the legendary Scot has played a role in every single managerial acquisition and dismissal since he retired.
Whether it was directly choosing Moyes to be the manager or endorsing the appointments and subsequent jettisoning of Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, and Solskjaer, Ferguson’s influence carries plenty of weight according to the Daily Mirror.
He is a regular presence in the stands at Old Trafford, whether it is celebrating goals or puffing out his cheeks in frustration, as he was seen doing in the 5-0 mauling at the hands of Liverpool
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