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English Football's Top-10 Managers of the Decade, 2010-2019: 4th - Sir Alex Ferguson

It may seem like an eternity since Sir Alex Ferguson last graced the Red Devils dugout - especially for Man Utd fans - but he did in fact take in the opening three-and-a-half-years of the decade, during which he attained a 69.70% Premier League win rate and averaged 2.273 points per game - second only to Pep Guardiola in the 2010s.

Ferguson lifted two Premier League titles - it could even have been four - which propelled United clear of Liverpool’s top-flight tally of 18, a League Cup, two Community Shields, and enjoyed a passage through to his fourth Champions League final. While his last match in charge of United was remarkably his 1,500th at the helm of the club.

On a more personal level, Fergie collected his fourth and fifth LMA Manager of the Year awards, two of the Premier League’s version of the accolade, and in 2012 he was also crowned the IFFHS World's Best Coach of the 21st Century.

In the previous decade (2000-2009) Ferguson won six Premier League titles, the Champions League, the FA Cup, two League Cups, three Community Shields and the FIFA Club World Cup. However, in the summer of 2009 he reluctantly lost Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid, while Carlos Tevez made the shock move over to Man City. 

Therefore Ferguson had to find a new way to win, and while he started off the new decade (2010-2019) by securing a second successive League Cup, bereft of their Portuguese superstar and his co-star United agonisingly missed out on the 2009/10 title to Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea by a single point.

No.4: Sir Alex Ferguson
No.4: Sir Alex Ferguson

United put the league disappointment behind them by storming to glory in 2010/11 by a margin of nine points, in a season which saw Ferguson equal his own club record of 29 league games unbeaten. He also enjoyed a fourth voyage through to the Champions League final, however United lost out to Pep Guardiola’s outstanding Barcelona. Meanwhile, mid-way through the campaign Ferguson officially became the longest-serving manager in United’s history, when he overtook Sir Matt Busby. 

United then fell victim to the most dramatic moment in Premier League history - you know the one - “This won't happen again,” Ferguson told his players after that heartbreaking title loss to Man City. He was right, as usual.

The man himself proved his resolve, determination and managerial brilliance by again responding in style, as he hoisted his 13th and final Premier League crown at a canter (11 points). 

Ferguson’s powers of persuasion in luring over Robin van Persie from Arsenal proved to be pivotal as the Dutchman fired in 26 goals en route to winning the Golden Boot - no Man Utd player has claimed the accolade since.

It’s now been six-and-a-half-years since Ferguson retired, yet since then United have experienced a period of frustrating decline. The dominant force have been forced to take up a background role, as rivals Man City and Liverpool take centre stage, highlighting just how influential and impactful Fergie was. United have failed to win the title in any of those six seasons - soon to be seven -  finished in the top-3 only once, and they are now on their fourth permanent boss post-Fergie, a tally that could become five in the near future. 

“Winning is in my nature,” revealed Ferguson to HBR.org shortly after his retirement. “I’ve set my standards over such a long period of time that there is no other option for me - I have to win. I expected to win every time we went out there.”

Britain’s most successful manager took his magic managerial touch into a fifth and final decade where he refused to sit still, controlled change, proved his staying power, and in turn continued to thrive and break records. 

Decade CV

2x Premier League titles

1x League Cup

2x Community Shield

1x Champions League runner-up

2x LMA Manager of the Year award

2x Premier League Manager of the Year

1x IFFHS World's Best Coach of the 21st Century (2012)

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