"This is new. The dial doesn't work. I am quite frankly embarrassed at the craftmanship."
How the managerial passing of Sir Alex Ferguson could shape the Premier League.
The first part of this is an essay. The second part is for funsies. Enjoy.
So, apparently I missed the memo and now CRDM and Wheaties Eater have taken over FanPosts. Good work, fellas, you have assumed control (Rush reference, someone find it). I want a turn, so I'm writing a less technical piece about my views on nature, Sir Alex Ferguson, vacuums, and Chelsea (as you might have surmised from the title). Naturally, I'm doing this at 2:10 AM after my exams because I'm bored.
"Et tu, Brute?" (I have no idea what the circumstances of this picture are, but I do know that 1) His stare is extremely intimidating and 2) His stare is extremely intimidating.)
So, as you might have heard, Sir Alex Ferguson retired; this leaves the red half of Manchester in a 'dour Scot' shaped bind. See, they're replacing him with David Moyes (famous for his intense stares and red hairs), the current manager of Everton. You know this.
The merits of David Moyes are apart as mixed as you would expect opinions on football managers to be: there are those who laud him for continually finishing sixth for Everton and there are those who slam him for continually finishing sixth with Everton. Where you fall on this spectrum of beliefs tends to align with whether or not you're an Everton fan and whether or not you love dour Scots.
Tactically, the opinions on him are varied as well, which is odd because tactics are something that should remain objective. Roger Bennett (of Men in Blazers fame) apparently loves the man for his swashbuckling attacking adventures down the right; I've also heard him criticized for his big game dour Scot-ness and tactical non-sophistication. I'm not the man to ask about this.
What I do know is that David Moyes is probably a very, very good coach. In fact, I wanted him for Chelsea manager (you know, before the impending striking of the Mouteor shower) due to his ability to finish sixth with Everton. I would put David Moyes in the top echelon of Premier League coaches - not that that says much.
The problem here (for fans of United and dour Scotsmen) is that David Moyes is not Alex Ferguson. He isn't close to Alex Ferguson. Even if David Moyes were ten times more annoying than he was currently and the third best coach in the world he still wouldn't be Alex Ferguson. This is good news for Chelsea fans (yes, you).
"Kai su, teknon?" (Again, no context. What I do know is that this man's eyes look like they're made of marble.)
See, nature abhors a vacuum. Aristotle said that, and Aristotle was a smart man who said occasional dumb things; in this case, Aristotle makes a fine point. Nature wants to maximize entropy and equalize pressure, and so it abhors a vacuum. Right now, the Premier League is a vacuum.
Since 1986 Sir Alex Ferguson has been angrily pointing to his watch and whining about the BBC on a weekly basis; his time in the league cemented the rise of United into a world-brand and dominating force and also probably cost Liverpool the chance to ever regain their all-time first divisions title record. His teams were so varied over the course of those times that fielding a first XI of Fergie United greats would be as difficult as pulling teeth (for more than one reason). Ferguson went from being a random Scottish striker to the greatest manager in the world and one of the greatest managers to ever manage.
Sir Alex Ferguson understood pressure. He understood that teams could win games if they weren't great individually by being great due to outside pressure. Keeping the thermodynamics/chemistry analogies going, Fergie realized that he could make his reactants form more product without changing the concentration of reactants by infusing his own will into the team. I'm young, but I don't think there's ever been a manager more synonymous with a collection of individuals in football.
Now he is gone, and no matter how good David Moyes is he will never be Sir Alex Ferguson. This means that the United dominance will probably tail off; it might take a year, or a few, and it might be minor, but they will decline. And that is where we come in.
As you know, the future is bright. Graham's excellent piece on the idea of contention and expectation is a natural daughter of the news of the Ferguson retirement. You see, the future is there for the taking. We have the talent, we have the manager (fingers crossed), and we have the backing to take those titles from United. If they can't win three in a row anymore (and I think those days could be over), then there are titles to be had. I think they could be ours.
Clearly, we are built for the future: in Mata, Hazard, Oscar, KdB, Courtois, Lukaku, Luiz, and Chalobah we have stars (current and former; all could be in their prime is five years' time) that could change the face of history; what would two or three titles do for the legacy of Chelsea FC? I honestly believe that we could sweep through the next ten years of contention like United did for the late '90s and early '00s. Only time will tell.
So, for fun, I have decided to simulate a scenario for each of the top seven teams following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. This is somewhat (read: 100%) abstract and influenced by the flash-forwards in the Wheel of Time. Enjoy:
The scene is cloudy day in Manchester, the only kind there is [factually inaccurate]. It is late May, 2015, and Robin van Persie is eagerly awaiting the summer transfer window. His contract is up in a year, and the times have been rough. van Persie escaped Arsenal to win, and win he did... Once. Now his life has been reduced to dismal first-half-of-the-season performances and false dawns. Third place is no place for Robin van Persie.
"Who knew this FFP thing was real?"
Nature abhors a vacuum, and Chelsea are the anti-vacuum to United's vacuum. A title in 2014 followed by a Champions League final win in 2015 has set them on the path. However, the club is uneasy after finishing second: an empire arises from the north. Arsenal, fresh off their first trophy in [Number] of days, are raring for a fight.
Gareth Bale is gone. AVB's suits have somehow fit more immaculately than ever. These two sentences are all anyone needs to know.
Continually finish sixth.
(No, seriously! Did you know West Brom was eighth? Isn't this crazy? LUKAKU! UNLEASH THE KRAKEN! [Interparenthetical side-note: I'm not rational when it comes to Romelu Lukaku. Not at all.])