Ferguson Up for His Toughest Fight

Ferguson Up for His Toughest Fight

It is the question that some say Sir Alex Ferguson, aged 70, will never face, let alone answer. Yet perhaps it has never carried a sharper edge than in these last few days when the 13th Premier League title he seemed to have conjured from, if not thin air, then extremely unpromising odds, has almost certainly been taken away.

When does he stop to hold up his hands and say it is time for the smelling of the flowers? When does he acknowledge, as did his great predecessor at Manchester United, Sir Matt Busby, who also made three great teams, that it is time to put down the challenge?

Busby was a mere 60 when he said farewell to the day-to-day cares of managing a club which carried monstrous expectations – and of course Barcelona's Pep Guardiola is just 41 as he insists that he desperately needs his year break after a total of just four years in charge of world football's most sublimely gifted team.

But then what do we get from Ferguson but an airy wave of his arm and the cryptic assurance that he will go when he deems the time to be right, which it plainly wasn't a decade or so ago when he stepped back from what he quickly realised would have been a step into the abyss.

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