Supporters entertainment is primary in football says Sir Alex Ferguson

Speaking ahead of the UEFA Champions League final to be played in Cardiff on Saturday, Sir Alex Ferguson talked about what is important in football today, saying that it’s football’s duty to keep supporters happy and entertained. It cannot be directly involved in the way Manchester United has played over the past season, with a lot of draws at home and despite winning three trophies during the past season, there is a lot to be done when it comes to entertainment. We, as supporters want the team to win, but most importantly, to play beautiful and breathtaking football that wouldn’t make us ask what time is it every time United play.

Getting back to Sir Alex, this is the thing he wanted his players to do, week in week out he would do so in front of a big crowd and the duty to keep them satisfied not just based on the results, but also the game. It is unquestionable that Ferguson did a fantastic job in his relations with the supporters as he knew that this was one of the most important things he had to do in his job as the manager. Well, as a young Manchester United supporter I cannot speak for much of the time when he was appointed as I wasn’t even born, but I can surely speak about the period after 2003, where despite losing at times; that is football, after all, every United game was special in its own way. The conditions have changed, of course, and with the investments made, money circulating easily, where you could spend millions without caring, have also changed the context of being a football supporter.

It has become all about winning if the team you support doesn’t win, it certainly becomes boring for a certain amount of people, but I think that this is the point where everyone is wrong. Probably playing lovely football, isn’t just enough today, but supporters have grown impatient over the last few years and want to win trophies all of the time, which is not always possible. Can you blame them? Of course not, they want their respective teams to win and have their moment of a joy in the spotlight. The result is what counts in the end, right? Well, not always. It’s hard we know, but where would that take the team? I still haven’t figured out a specific answer, yet they would hate it. Parking the bus is not the answer.

Related to this, Sir Alex had something to say about counter attacks affecting the beauty of the game, and how that would help the spectacle:

“The counter attack has become more prominent today; the condition of pitches is superb today; and also the protection of footballers has become more prevalent. So a lot of these things add up to what you’re seeing as a far better spectacle. I think you have a duty and a responsibility to entertain. We have to always remember that there’s a public to be entertained.”

As a good point in this story, Sir Alex uses his time at Manchester United where his favourite moments involved a lot of goals and entertainment all over the pitch, from both sides that were fighting for the win. Beyond the genius that was and actually is, Sir Alex had a specific job to do. It wasn’t just a game, it was a way to show people that this was the place where they can forget about their problems inside 90 minutes. They would themselves feel as important as the players who were in charge of entertaining them:

“In my time at United, it was ‘as long as you win’. If it was 4-3, OK, or 5-4, OK. My last game was 5-5 (at West Brom in 2013). I couldn’t ask for a better score in my last game at United.”

Lots of good memories are with Sir Alex Ferguson and we truly miss those days, because that’s what he would do. Manchester United created a name, but he always kept everyone in mind: “The club is always bigger than names.” Big and important players come and go, whether they leave a mark or not, it’s up to them, but the way this club does it, tells you that the most important thing about football, is keeping football fans entertained. As always, Sir Alex Ferguson is right.

Written by Fabiola Cejku


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