Belfast Telegraph

Is this is the end of Manchester United dynasty?

No, not while Fergie stays in charge at Old Trafford

By Steven Beacom

As the Manchester City players paraded the Premier League trophy on an open top bus on Monday night, the Blue Moon brigade drunk it in — that sweet, sweet taste of success.

They were out in their thousands in Manchester to celebrate the most dramatic league title triumph ever.

Had Sergio Aguero not scored the injury time winner on Sunday against QPR the City faithful would’ve locked themselves in their homes, never to come out for fear of the derision heaped on them by crowing Manchester United fans.

And serious questions would have been asked of manager Roberto Mancini and his highly paid players.

But Aguero did score the winner and today it is United, Sir Alex Ferguson and his players, trophyless this season, who must come up with answers.

What a difference a second makes. That's how long it took for Aguero to control Mario Balotelli's pass and strike the ball home in clinical style.

That second, apparently, has seen a changing of the guard, a shift in power, a new powerful dynasty emerge and the end of one of the most golden eras football has known.

United and Ferguson will know it should not have come to this. Eight points clear in the run-in, they should have won title number 20 but defeats at Wigan and City plus a crazy 4-4 draw at home to Everton when they led 4-2 cost them dear.

At a period in the season when United normally come on strong, they cracked up and City took advantage. Already Mancini's players are talking about doing it again next year.

Get that sweet, sweet taste of success and you want more. Much more.

United are the perfect examples having endured a championship drought of 26 years before winning it under Ferguson in 1993. They've hardly been thirsty since.

Ferguson arrived at Old Trafford from Aberdeen determined to knock Liverpool off their perch. He did and look at Liverpool now — they haven't won the league that was virtually their own property for a staggering 22 years and counting.

On Sunday Mancini and his men knocked United off their perch. Red Devils will worry that it could be long term especially with Aguero, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Joe Hart soon to be joined by more world class stars thanks to the incredible spending power at Mancini's disposal.

The Glazers have to match that. New blood is needed. David De Gea, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley and Daniel Welbeck have the potential to form the basis of a fine side in years to come, but United need star quality now to take on City.

The best players bring with them consistency, something sadly lacking in Ashley Young, Nani and Michael Carrick.

The brilliant Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes can't go on forever. And Wayne Rooney needs help in attack.

Think how much better he would be feeding off a Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben. Why not see if Xavi or Iniesta could be tempted to leave Barcelona now Pep Guardiola has gone.

Wouldn't a signing like that shake things up and send out a message to City?

The Glazers owe Fergie that. He's been loyal to them. Now they must do right by him and give him the tools he needs.

When you look at the current United squad compared to the past champion sides that he has built, you realise how well he actually did in getting so close to City this season.

Remember in the end it was only goal difference that separated them. Ferguson's sheer force of will almost saw his side over the line.

He has seen off Liverpool, Leeds, Blackburn, Arsenal and Chelsea at different times while in charge of United.

Now City are the rivals. Bring it on will be the manager's mantra at Old Trafford especially after that appalling, self centred individual Carlos Tevez held up a spiteful and unnecessary “Fergie RIP” sign during City's parade on Monday.

Finished? End of an era? I wouldn't go writing Sir Alex and United off just yet.

Belfast Telegraph


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