For some reason, it seems like former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez just can't move on with his life. In a recent interview with BBC, Benitez insisted that any credit toward Manchester United's success over the years should go toward the club's bank account, and not Sir Alex Ferguson's management skills.
Benitez supported his claim by bringing up United's activity in the transfer market, particularly the amounts paid for the acquisitions of Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand; both in the neighborhood of £30 million. He went on to say, "Every year they [United] are very well-off. It's not just because of the interviews or the press conferences; it's because they had money."
While Benitez does have a valid point, his assessment of the whole picture is entirely off the mark. Yes, United have benefited from the availability of funds; that is only but a piece of the puzzle. Fergie's body of work has been greater than the sum of its parts.
Fergie has always stressed that no player is bigger than the club; and that has been the foundation upon which his era has been set. Players have come and gone, yet the club is still contending and winning trophies every season; take the licking but keep on ticking.
Also when it comings to grooming youth talent and bringing them up through the ranks, Fergie is just as good, if not better, than any manager out there. I'm sure Benitez has yet to hear of Fergie's Fledglings and the triumphant 1992 FA Youth Cup side, whose players (at least some of them) went on to become mainstays in some of the best United teams. I really don't need to mention any names, do I?
Sir Alex has been able to merge club tradition, a winning mentality and a proven track record of success (counting his days at Aberdeen); making United a major player in the transfer market. They can offer big name talent an opportunity to compete for trophies at both the domestic and continental scene.
It's rather funny that Benitez should single out Manchester United, while overlooking clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City, who are relevant because they found investors who could bankroll them to success. Under Roman Abramovich, Chelsea has lifted a total of 7 trophies, ranking them second behind United in the Premiership era. Manchester City's run to FA Cup victory, ending a 35 year trophy drought, was powered by a spending spree in excess of £200 million in the transfer market.
Since getting fired from Inter Milan, I'm sure Rafa Benitez has a lot of time to burn. Rather than taking shots at his former adversary, he would be wiser trying to figure out his misgivings, should there be a vacancy in the near future. Try as he might, even Rafa knows that he "can't knock the hustle".