Forget about when the Premier League was established in 1992, May 8th 2013 is the date that could change the landscape of English football for the foreseeable future…at least as far as the top tier is concerned. Now that the man who had almost single-handedly defined three decades of football in this country has stepped down, his opponents, much like his former employees, are left in a limbo.
Bizarrely, Fergie’s retirement has had Manchester United fans agreeing with their main rivals for probably the first time since the man from Govan was appointed at Old Trafford.
As opposition fans respectfully rejoice the departure of a Fergie, hoping that his departure may topple United’s dominance in the league, the majority of United fans are bracing themselves for a future tinged with uncertainty, one in which the defending champions might not be favourites to retain their crown.
The effect Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and David Moyes’ appointment will have on Manchester United will not be known until the end of next season at the earliest, but even that may be a premature time to begin to analyse the effect that Moyes will have at United. Over the long term, Moyes’ appointment could change everything the Premier League has been used to since 1992.
Manchester United and David Moyes are both in uncharted territories which could, theoretically, leave their main rivals in a strong position – stronger than the one they would have found themselves in had Ferguson not called it a day. And this summer was already on cards to be one of big change as clubs rebuild their squads for a title challenge.
Chelsea and Manchester City would have set off on a spending spree regardless of the managerial change at Old Trafford, with Roman Abramovich likely to provide Jose Mourinho (or whoever will replace Rafa Benitez) with the financial firepower required to mount a serious challenge. City, still smarting from failing to defend their title, will seek to bolster their ranks with an eye to not only regain the title, but also to finally progress past the group stages in the Champions League.
Throw in to the mix that Arsenal and Spurs will do some rebuilding of their own and it almost seems as though, in an instant, the playing field has been levelled. Conceptually to many the bases have been reset with no standout candidate to run away with the league next season as United did this season.
There is no doubt Manchester United’s top 4 rivals were happy to see the back of the man who successfully locked horns with them for so many seasons – it was almost like Alex Ferguson took United’s performances to another level and that influence is hard to replicate.
While Moyes might take time to find his feet at Old Trafford, don’t be caught up in the moment, underestimating Manchester United could still be a very dangerous exercise. David Moyes will be inheriting a squad that, whilst requiring some changes, still boasts high level of quality and this fact should not be forgotten.
Ultimately there’s no equation that could reveal how the Premier League will unfold next season but, among all the doubts, changes and uncertainty, one thing is sure – it won’t be the same without Sir Alex Ferguson and the uncertainty, for the neutral at least, leads me to think that next seasons title race could be one of the most exciting ever.