Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sir Alex makes argument for best ever

This past week, the announcement of Sir Alex Ferguson retiring as manager of English soccer powerhouse Manchester United probably went without much reaction from those who aren't immersed in the sport.

Inside the world of the beautiful game, however, it was a huge deal.

Ferguson exits as perhaps the most successful manager club soccer has ever boasted.

The argument about best manager ever doesn't just extend to soccer, though.

It probably extends to all of sports - that is, if you're willing to give the case its due.

Ferguson won 13 Premier League championships in 26 seasons with Manchester United, along with two Champions League crowns.

If the biggest scale on which a manager/coach can be gauged is championships, here is the comparison with the most prolific in that regard in North American sports:

MLB: Joe McCarthy (Yankees) and Casey Stengel (Yankees), 7
NBA: Phil Jackson (Bulls and Lakers), 11
NFL: Chuck Noll (Steelers), 4
NHL: Scotty Bowman (Canadiens, Penguins, Red Wings), 9

It's hard not to argue, based purely on numbers, Ferguson belongs in that discussion.

Say what you will about whether soccer should be included, but winning a championship during 50 percent of your tenure cannot be debated as anything but gaudy.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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