Sir Alex Ferguson must be rather enjoying himself. Certainly he seemed to be on Friday, when he took aim at the foes around him, notably Mark Hughes and Rafa Benitez. He began by deriding Hughes’ position, asking of QPR owner Tony Fernandes, ''if you do not fancy the manager, why wait until next week?" Clearly listening, Fernandes promptly fired Hughes, and a manager Ferguson is rather more fond of, Harry Redknapp, will now be at Old Trafford on Sunday to clink glasses with the United boss after his new team have lost again.
Having dealt with one manager on his way out of a job, Ferguson took aim at one on his way in, old friend Rafa Benitez.
"The biggest disappointment for me is that in two weeks time they (Chelsea) are going to the world championship [FIFA World Club Cup]. You would have thought they would have waited to give the guy a chance to win it," Ferguson said.
"Rafa Benítez is very lucky because on his CV in two weeks' time he could have two world championships to his name – and has had nothing to do with the teams. José Mourinho won the treble with Inter Milan. He [Benítez] took over and won the world championship without having to do anything and having nothing to do with the construction of the teams."
Ferguson does not seem content to merely go about his business with his usual sure footedness. He clearly wants to relish the moment when all around him seems to be imploding. Chelsea are in self inflicted crisis once again, having fired Roberto di Matteo just months after he won them the Champions League, and having refused to apologise to referee Mark Clattenburg, after the FA cleared him and announced he had no case to answer after the London side accused him of using racist language towards John Mikel Obi. The Manchester United boss made clear his own thoughts on the matter.
"The unfortunate thing for Mark is that he has had to carry that stain for the last few weeks. Everyone in the game is pleased for him now – apart from Chelsea."
As if all of that hasn’t warmed Ferguson’s heart enough, he can look to his billionaire backed rivals, Manchester City and Chelsea, and note their crumbling European campaigns whilst his team had booked their second round spot with two games to spare – and as group winners. Roberto Mancini is under pressure, even though his team are top of the league.
Though that was not enough, Ferguson even had the pleasure of picking up the papers this morning to see his old nemesis, Arsène Wenger, praising his durability, months after he nabbed Arsenal's lynchpin, Robin van Persie. Surveying the wreckage of the teams around United in the league, you could imagine Ferguson having enjoyed a particularly long laugh when he discovered on Wednesday morning that di Matteo had been fired. Not out of disdain or lack of respect for the unfortunate Italian, but at the capacity of his rivals to shoot themselves in the foot so regularly. The United boss will be sleeping particularly easily tonight.