Time was, the only way you’d leave Old Trafford was on the say-so of Ferguson. A United player’s future was almost entirely in Ferguson’s hands. Those days are long gone.
Player power is so great that football managers no longer inspire fear in the men they manage. Sometimes they don’t even inspire basic respect (see Didier Drogba’s refusal to play for Big Phil Scolari).
Even Fergie appears to be losing his edge. Could he stop Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Old Trafford? No, he couldn’t. C-Ron has no fear of Fergie’s hairdryer; it’s an outdated tool, ineffective on the very best players, who want for nothing and only listen to their agents (I’m sure Ferguson knows this too).
And when Ferguson himself phoned up Carlos Tevez to try and persuade him to stay at United, Tevez did not cower and say “Yes, gaffer, whatever you say.” Instead, the