Thursday, September 27, 2007

Needlessly provocative question of the day - is Sir Alex Ferguson qualified to coach in the Premier League?

From ESPN:

The Premier League board are expected to decide whether to give special dispensation for [Avram] Grant to continue in his Chelsea post until he has the Pro Licence, but as an experienced former coach of the Israel national team he should have little to worry about.

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate was given dispensation by the Premier League board last season even though he had no managerial experience at all.

Manchester United opposed the decision on Southgate and are expected to take a similar stance on Grant despite their own manager Sir Alex Ferguson not having the Pro Licence himself.

Ferguson and Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill were given dispensation because they helped set up the coaching course in England for the Pro Licence and because of their experience.

So there's the little bit of irony in Sir Alex Ferguson insisting that Avram Grant have a license that Ferguson himself doesn't have. This has elicited comment:

Sir Alex Ferguson is a swot when it comes to other people's exams and also made his objections known when Gareth Southgate and Glenn Roeder applied for an exemption. So why does Ahead of the Game think it's funny? Because for some reason Ferguson is less keen on doing his own exams: he holds only an "honorary" Uefa Pro Licence. What happened to education for education's sake?

And Manchester United fans got an unwelcome bit of news:

Eight days after Chelsea played a Champions League match in front of only 24,973 spectators, Manchester United expect to record an attendance of more than 70,000 for their Carling Cup third-round tie against Coventry City this evening, although that impressive figure may be announced against a backdrop of empty seats at Old Trafford, or, at least, discontent among many of their supporters.

Under a controversial ticketing scheme, which has been made compulsory this season, United’s 57,000 season ticket-holders are required to buy tickets for every match in all three cup competitions, regardless of whether they wish to attend. With Coventry expected to take at least 11,000 supporters to Old Trafford, the official attendance is guaranteed to be at least 68,000, but while the figures delight those in the Old Trafford boardroom, the scheme is deeply unpopular among United fans, who see it as symptomatic of the unwelcome changes since the Glazer family’s takeover of the club in 2005.

Now mash these up with this post in Soccerlens:

Before Manchester United lined up against Coventry City yesterday, it appeared that there could only be one conclusion. Despite playing mainly reserve and youth team players, it seemed unimaginable that a United side backed by around 65,000 of their own fans at Old Trafford could lose, or even draw to a team currently placed eighth in the Championship.

Manchester United rested the likes of Paul Scholes, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, but still should have had enough quality on the pitch to win. New summer signings Nani and Anderson must have cost more than the whole Coventry City team, and with Michael Carrick and Wes Brown on the bench this side still have some semblance of quality about it (as most Manchester United sides do).

Coventry City went on to pull off one of the shocks of the decade, winning 2-0 due to a double for Malta’s Michael Mifsud. The former Lillestrom forward poached a goal in the 26th minute after slotting away Michael Doyle’s accurate cross and then rifled in a shot in the 70th minute to seal the victory. Manchester United’s front pairing of Dong Fangzhou and Anderson worked hard and tried everything possible to unlock the Coventry defense; but they proved unsuccessful to send the away fans into raptures.

This shock means it is the second time in two years Manchester United have gone out of the Carling Cup after being beaten by a lowly team; last year saw them surprised by Freddy Eastwood’s strike as Southend secured a 1-0 victory. Ferguson admitted after yesterday’s game that he was “flabbergasted” by the result- although this defeat will not affect them too much in the long run, he damn well should be.

And there were additional comments:

If United make it compulsory for season-ticket holders to also buy seats for the Carling Cup then the least the club can do is put on a performance worth watching.

And last night’s certainly was not.

I guess this shows you what happens when you get an unlicensed manager for your team.

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