A big weekend for: Sir Alex Ferguson
It has been one of those rare weeks in the life of English football's longest serving manager. A week that presents itself with such infrequency that its very existence is widely touted as the stuff of myth or legend.
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Accustomed to a diary full of glory, triumph and managerial infallibility, as lives go his ain't a bad one. So when a week, such as this one, that fails to conform to custom and leaves the faintest of black marks on a predominantly unblemished canvas comes around, it is worth highlighting. If only to serve as a reminder that his mightiness, Sir Alex, is human like the rest of us.
In the past the Manchester United boss has not been shy in providing the occasional hint that he is not one for a tabloid scandal. The perils of publicity are precisely why media magnet David Beckham is dallying around in the football wilderness while his camera shy peers, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, have been permitted to remain and flourish at the game's summit under Ferguson's expert tutelage.
While Wayne Rooney may not possess the obvious pulling power of the artist formerly known as Goldenballs with regard to the world's press, it was his prolific pulling power elsewhere that triggered Fergie's week of woe.
In the fallout of the front page furore and faced with the prospect of a malicious mauling on Merseyside, Ferguson deemed it necessary to remove his prize asset from the frontline. This coming amid fears that the intense atmosphere would strip Rooney of his natural ability and leave him exposed and dishevelled in a place he once called home.
United's subsequent injury time capitulation and consolation prize may or may not have had a jot to do with Rooney's absence, but the question's validity exists because of it.
No need to panic thought Fergie, the Scots are up next and they're bound to give us all something to smile about again. I can even dress up as the tinker man for the occasion.
Ten changes indicated that the tinker man had arrived but Rangers failed to perform their designated role with any conviction. Instead they had the audacity to dedicate the full 90 minutes to the art of bus parking, getting the unfortunate Antonio Valencia trapped under the wheels in the process.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the distance, a victory dance is being feverishly rehearsed and Chelsea are ready for an extended spell in the spotlight. And the last thing his Fergieness would want after such a torturous week is for a falling giant to find their feet.
A quick check of the diary and there sits a Liverpool sized void waiting to be filled on an expanding page that is proving tricky to turn.
By Thomas Hyde
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