Sir Alex Ferguson is regarded as one of the greatest managers in the history of football. His 26 years with Manchester United helped the club become one of the biggest in the world, and he developed a number of world-class players.
While most of his decisions have shaped Manchester United in a positive manner, some have proven to be mistakes. There is no denying the influence the Scot has had at Manchester United and in the Premier League, but some of his actions are still debated.
We look at the 5 errors Sir Alex Ferguson made as Manchester United boss.
#5 Letting go of Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba initially joined Manchester United in 2009 in a controversial deal from Le Havre. The midfielder's talent was undeniable, but a lack of game-time resulted in Pogba departing the club and joining Juventus on a free transfer in 2012.
The relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson and Pogba's agent Mino Raiola was frosty, to say the least, and the way Pogba left the club did not leave a good impression on Ferguson. However, the midfielder thrived at Juventus, becoming one of the best young footballers in the world, and was coveted by some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
In 2016, Manchester United decided to sign him for a then world-record fee of £94.5 million. The France international has enjoyed some good moments for the club, but there have been questions raised as to whether he has fulfilled the talent he displayed at Juventus.
The 28-year old has made 192 appearances in all competitions since his return to Manchester United. An excellent passer who is technically strong and physically gifted, Pogba has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid for quite some time. It remains to be seen what his future holds.
#4 Failing to replace Cristiano Ronaldo
To be fair to Sir Alex Ferguson, replacing one of the greatest players to have played the game is not an easy task.
Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United in 2003 from Sporting CP as a gangly youngster for a fee of £17 million. Six seasons, 292 games, 118 goals and a Ballon d'Or later, he departed Manchester United for Real Madrid in 2009 for a then world-record fee of £84.5 million.
Sir Alex Ferguson tried several ways to replace Ronaldo. In 2009, he signed an out-and-out winger in Antonio Valencia from Wigan Athletic, and in subsequent years invested in players like Ashley Young and Shinji Kagawa. While the likes of Valencia and Young were reliable players who could operate in multiple positions, replacing Ronaldo proved to be an impossible task for Ferguson.
Since his retirement, Manchester United have spent heavily on forwards, but with little return. Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Memphis Depay and Alexis Sanchez were all signed on expensive deals but failed to perform, and have since left the club.
#3 Failing to properly replace Peter Schmeichel till 2005
Manchester United have employed three of the best goalkeepers to have played in the Premier League in the form of Peter Schmeichel, Edwin van der Sar, and David de Gea.
However, there was a gap of five years between the departure of Schmeichel and the arrival of van der Sar, in which Manchester United tried various goalkeepers with little to no success. This list included Mark Bosnich, Massimo Taibi, Fabien Barthez, and Tim Howard.
Barthez was arguably the most successful of the lot, but none of them managed to replace Schmeichel. Ultimately, Manchester United signed Edwin van der Sar from Fulham for a fee of £3.5 million.
The Netherlands international proved to be an important addition to the Manchester United backline. He made 266 appearances in all competitions for the club, and won the Premier League four times and the Champions League once. He retired in 2011, paving the way for David de Gea.
#2 Selling Jaap Stam
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted openly that selling Jaap Stam in 2001 was a mistake.
Stam joined Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven in 1998. The centre-back was a world-class player during his prime, with his pace, strength and consistent performances making him a fan favourite at Manchester United. He made 127 appearances in all competitions for the club, winning the Premier League three times and the Champions League once during his time there.
In 2001, Stam was sold to Lazio, with Manchester United signing experienced French centre-back Laurent Blanc as the replacement. His subsequent performances for Lazio and later AC Milan raised questions as to why he was sold, with Ferguson admitting that it had been a mistake to let him go.
The Netherlands international retired in 2007 after a stint with Ajax. He is now a football manager, having coached the likes of Reading, PEC Zwolle and Feyenoord. He is currently the manager of FC Cincinnati.
#1 Appointing David Moyes as his successor
The day Manchester United had been dreading arrived on May 19, 2013, when Sir Alex Ferguson managed his last Manchester United game. It was a thrilling 5-5 draw against West Bromwich Albion, and Ferguson retired in sensational style.
Manchester United had already announced the arrival of Everton boss David Moyes as Ferguson's replacement. Moyes had managed Everton for eleven years, and Ferguson had played a key role in his appointment as the manager of Manchester United.
However, things did not go according to plan. Moyes struggled with the Old Trafford outfit, and poor performances resulted in Manchester United sacking him in April 2014. The club later appointed big names like Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho, but results continued to oscillate during their reigns.
The Premier League giants are yet to reach the heights of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, although there have been signs of improvement under the current management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Moyes is currently managing West Ham United, who have been one of the better teams in the league this season.
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