To my surprise, United rallied after that and won the PremierLeague. But this was almost entirely down to the brilliance of one man,Cristiano Ronaldo. Aided and abetted by the almost as brilliant CarlosTevez. And within weeks of the season ending, both of them were gone.
Since then, Wayne Rooney has stepped into the breach andsingle-handedly kept United from falling into ignominious disarray. Without his 34 goals, Old Trafford would have been in mutiny by now.Such is the obvious paucity of world-class talent on display whenRooney's not playing. But his fantastic displays have only served tohide the rotting decay in Sir Alex's lair.
I watched the Manchester derby yesterday and until Paul Scholes scoredthat late winner, United looked thoroughly mediocre. This squad issimply not good enough to dominate any more. It's the weakest I've seenat Old Trafford for 15 years and not in the same league as Barcelona,Real Madrid or Inter Milan. And I'm afraid that the main culprit forthis is the Emperor himself.
A shadow of their former selves: Dumped out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich, Manchester United rejoice a vital victory over rivals City
More from Piers Morgan On Sport. Piers Morgan: You can't kid the Kop, Rafa. Winning the Europa League may save your job, but nobody will believe it matters10/04/10 Piers Morgan: Harry Redknapp, the True Brit is playing the patriot game03/04/10 Piers Morgan: My 10-point solution to Arsene Wenger's Mission: Impossible27/03/10 Piers Morgan: So which chump of a billionaire decided to drive Jose away?20/03/10 PIERS MORGAN: Beckham's green and gold stunt was a load of tosh13/03/10 Piers Morgan: John Terry wins the Oscar for best original score, the Inglourious B*****d!06/03/10 Piers Morgan: John Terry is nice to kids, so they say. but so were the Krays!27/02/10 Piers Morgan: Tiger Woods: Saying sorry is easy. The hard bit is looking like you mean it20/02/10 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE It's he who let Ronaldo go, when the Portuguese star was at theabsolute peak of his powers. It's he who then let Tevez walk too,refusing to pay a transfer fee that now looks dirt cheap given thegoals the devilish Argentinian has smashed in for Manchester City.
It's he who turned to Michael Owen as a replacement striker, when everyone in football knows that Owen'slegs are shot to pieces. It's he who paid more than £30million forDimitar Berbatov, a man now known as the David Blaine of the PremierLeague because he sits in a box for weeks on end, doing bugger all.
It's he who tacitly let most of the £80m Ronaldo fee remain in theUnited coffers, while rival European superteams all bought big.
United diehards will protest that Ferguson has earned the right toonly go when he wants to go but I don't agree. The empire has lost itsomnipotence, the Emperor'sjudgment has finally failed him and he must now fall on his sword andlet someone else take over.
And the obvious candidate for the most coveted position in British football is surely Jose Mourinho.
Heir apparent: Sir Alex (right) should stand down in favour of Mourinho
He's 20 years younger than Ferguson, a natural-born winner, has donea superb job at Inter Milan (as he has everywhere he's gone), wants toreturn to the Premier League and would restore United to where they are used to being: No 1.
And to all United fans who will inevitably rage at me for being a'typical anti-United, Southern, Gooner *******' , I simply say this: ifyou don't get him, and get him now, then Mourinho may well end up atLiverpool.
And that, my friends, is your ultimate nightmare come true.
Selfish Sol is the man for CapelloGet him on the plane: Campbell has proved one of his harshest critics wrong
I have given Sol Campbell some fearful hammer this season and he, in turn, has given me some fearful death stares whenever we've met and these encounters have happened with an alarming frequency, everywhere from the Earl's Court Road to Chelsea's bar.
But fair's fair, I've been seriously impressed with him since he re-signed for Arsenal.
Against Spurs last week he was our best player: strong, determined, intently focused and constantly shouting and screaming at some of his lily-livered colleagues to try to rally the cause.
All this while facing the usual unrestrained torrent of foul-mouthed abuse from the White Hart Lane faithful (I never blame them, by the way if Fabregas went to Spurs tomorrow, I'd feel exactly the same).
I stand by my view that Campbell has shown extraordinary selfishness in his career. But I'll say this about him: he showed more guts and passion than I've seen from most Arsenal players this season. And he seems as fit as the proverbial fiddle, too.
If I were Fabio Capello, I'd take him to South Africa as cover for Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.
Drogba's the top dog, not RooneyWayne has had, as I said, a tremendous season and gets better all the time. But if you ask me who should win Player of the Year, then it wouldn't be him.
It would be a man who has started only 27 Premier League games but still managed to score 25 goals without, unlike Rooney, taking any penalties.
And who has tended to do it against the big teams when it really matters. Drogba is not everyone's cup of tea.
Drogba: The man they hate to love - but what a player
He's a cocky, belligerent, whining, diving, irritating piece of work. And I still haven't forgiven him for giving me the runaround last Christmas over an interview.
Yet his power, technical brilliance and lethal instinct in front of goal are the main reasons why Chelsea are almost certain to win the League.
A surefire thing? Don't bet on it Amid all the nostalgia surrounding the 25th anniversary of Dennis Taylor's extraordinary World Snooker Championship win over Steve Davis, my mind flitted back to Harlow College in Essex.
I was a journalism student at the time, on a course with 56 pupils, of whom 50 were female. (A fact which I'm sure first cemented my true love of the profession.)
One of the few fellow males was Mark Stillman, a most entertaining and eccentric character who liked the odd flutter at the bookies.
When Davis raced to that 8-0 lead, Stillman sensed a unique opportunity to supplement his meagre income with an apparently risk-free bonus and stuck his entire year's grant on Davis to win at ludicrously short odds.
The calm before the storm: Davis (left) and Taylor pose before the 1985 final. Who knew what unparalleled drama was to follow.
From memory, he put down something like £800 to win £100. I was with him as that last black went in, meaning Taylor had won 18-17, and Stillman's face was so horrifically pale and gaunt that I thought he'd actually spontaneously died from shock.
Suffice to say, he spent the rest of the year living in a tent in Harlow Park and working as a cleaner in McDonald's.
And that's why I have never, ever, believed there is such a thing as a 'surefire' sporting bet.
I would pay good money to watch Audley Harrison get his wish and fight David Haye.
One is a lumbering, lazy, arrogant loudmouth with a lucky punch.
The other's a lean, mean, hardworking, self-aware champion.
Accept the challenge, David, then do us all a favour and knock Mr Harrison clean on to his overfed backside.
Watching Tiger Woods at the Masters was like watching a hammerhead shark that's lost all sense of direction and had its teeth removed.
All those fake smiles at the crowds, the forced 'Mr Nice Guy' routine in interviews, the lack of any real explosions as he regularly teed off into the next door fairways.
No wonder Phil Mickelson wasn't remotely worried about him. He should change his name to Tigger Woods.
New man: Tigger
I am used to seeing miracles in football. Emmanuel Eboue's transformation from double-substituted joke to midfield dynamo has been one of the most noteworthy.
But even that can't compare with the Lazarus-style resurrection of Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes.
Arsenal fans used to chant 'Can we play Gomes every week?' After his display against us on Wednesday, I don't want to play the annoying Brazilian rodent ever again.
Liverpool fans don't want to win the Europa League, or even the FA Cup. All we have wanted for 20 years is a Premier League title. That will never happen with Rafa in charge. He has already wasted hundreds of millions on sub-standard players.
GRAHAM BOYLE, PERTH
Piers says: 'Yep, totally agree. Roy Hodgson's done as much with Fulham as Benitez, with a tenth of the budget.'
Comparing the Europa League to Heather Mills isn't fair, at least Gillian Anderson?
Piers says: 'Hmmm. Agree that Ms Mills is probably more our own League Cup (nobody goes for it unless they're desperate). Not sure I'd go as high as the divine Gillian for the Europa, though. Let's meet halfway and say Harriet Harman.'
Rafa is working with one hand tied behind his back and has still stayed ahead of Everton, Spurs, Villa and City for the past five years.
Piers says: 'Since when has Liverpool aspired to only be ahead of those four? Shankly and Paisley would turn in their graves at such lack of ambition.'
Why is this dim-witted clown STILL allowed to write on a subject he clearly has no clue about?
Piers says: 'Ah, Jono, you're back. And so soon after I called you a helpless little berk, too. I guess for the same reason that you're allowed to keep expressing your inane views of my ineptitude. It's a free country.'
email Piers: firstname.lastname@example.org