JEFF POWELL: Manchester United need to make Sir Alex Ferguson their football director

The forces that are in Manchester United can not see the forest for the trees.

Too many chefs ruin the broth.

They are so close to the problem that they do not recognize the answer that is staring them in the face.

JEFF POWELL: Manchester United need to make Sir Alex Ferguson their football director

It’s time for the iconic Sir Alex Ferguson to become director of football at Manchester United

There is no one better equipped to take the role and help Ole Gunnar Solskjær than Ferguson

There is no one better equipped to take the role and help Ole Gunnar Solskjær than Ferguson

Go with what cliché you like. They all apply to the masters of this special universe.

Not least this: The elephant is in space. Though this magnificent beast is not so much in the boardroom at Old Trafford as sitting next to the instructors at most matches.

It goes by the name of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson has been forced to look on helplessly during United's losses to Liverpool and City

Ferguson has been forced to look on helplessly during United’s losses to Liverpool and City

It is nothing short of absurd that the best football coach of all time is not asked to impose his unsurpassed wealth of knowledge and his encouraging personality against the downturn that is now hitting the club he loves.

It is utterly ridiculous that the task of claiming United as one of the most powerful powers in the global game is entrusted to a bunch of good old boys and middle managers.

While it would be too much to demand of Ferguson to return to the stress of full duty, no matter how completely he has recovered from the life-threatening cerebral hemorrhage, he is certainly the man to oversee a much-needed salvage operation.

Has anyone ever been better equipped to ease into the role of football director than Fergie? The overall tasks of this position are to help the manager to trophy success with the first team and help identify and recruit the stars to make it possible.

The big one has tried not to show that he abounds inside due to the club's failures

The big one has tried not to show that he abounds inside due to the club’s failures

Intermediate management cases have also been given control of United (left, Ed Woodward)

Intermediate management cases have also been given control of United (left, Ed Woodward)

Yet, according to most accounts, Sir Alex is scarcely, if ever, involved in such discussions, while this very position is occupied by – uh – John Murtough.

John who, the troubled followers ask? Apparently, Mr Murtough is quite well-liked by the players at Old Trafford, but he is more of an establishment figure.

When he was first responsible for player development in the Premier League, whatever that means, he was promoted earlier this year from his job as joint manager of the Academy and recruiting with United’s women’s team.

Under him comes ex-player Darren Fletcher as technical director, at the time someone called Mick Court as technical chief scout, Matt Judge as director of transfer negotiations and Justin Cochrane as head of first-team development.

United's football director is John Murtough (left), well-liked but more of an establishment figure

United’s football director is John Murtough (left), well-liked but more of an establishment figure

Two more Old Trafford faithful, Mike Phelan and Michael Carrick, as well as Kieran McKenna are the first-team coaches.

Worthy gentleman, no doubt. But while Ole Gunnar Solskjær needs all the powerful help he can get, Sir Alex sits and watches Liverpool’s humiliation and injury limitation surrender to Manchester City … while he tries not to show how much he abounds inside.

Should the big man be called in this time of crisis, where even Saturday’s visit to Watford seems to be filled with anxiety? Honestly, it’s a no-brainer.

But do not just listen to me. Ask Bryan Robson, who praises Fergie in his magnificent film Robbo: The Bryan Robson Story which will be released in Manchester’s Home Cinema next week and then on Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and Blu-Ray. He replies: ‘The question is why not? The Gaffer has so much more to offer.

Solskjær needs all the powerful help he can get, and has sought Ferguson's advice before

Solskjær needs all the powerful help he can get, and has sought Ferguson’s advice before

Would he come back? “I think so now,” Robson says. “He deliberately steered around when Ole was appointed. He did not want to be a heavy presence on any new manager. But I see signs that he would give his input now if asked. ‘

There are suggestions that Solskjær has not sought Ferguson’s advice more than three or four times in his three years as leader.

If he feels a little intimidated by the maestro’s presence, he should recall that Fergie embraced the legend of Sir Matt Busby and did not hesitate to choose the brain of his famous predecessor.

What he would never have done is to convene a meeting with senior professionals to advise him on where to go from here, as Solskjær is said to have done this week.

Woodward's impending departure could make it easier for Ferguson to make an impact

Woodward’s impending departure could make it easier for Ferguson to make an impact

It is understood now that Sir Alex was influential in persuading Cristiano Ronaldo to return to Old Trafford and he is known to have visited the training ground recently as the pressure on his latest successor intensified.

The impending departure of the hated CEO Ed Woodward could make it easier for Fergie to return to a position of influence.

Meanwhile, as Solskjær faces potentially more challenging matches at Chelsea and against Arsenal after the trip to Watford, Murtough continues to work under this facet of his job description: ‘Superior to the various team leaders and works day to day with Ole to adapt recruitment and other strategies to ensure that the first team has the first-class operational support it needs to succeed. ‘

It sounds like the company’s speech is designed to reassure the Glazer family in their American way of doing business. As Robson says, ‘The Gaffers’ way of winning was by doing hard work.’

Ferguson is the solution, not the problem, and he may be open to returning over Solskjær

Ferguson is the solution, not the problem, and he may be open to returning over Solskjær

Anyway. How does the high-currency approach work right now, gentlemen?

It is amusing to imagine how Sir Alex would have reacted to any attempt at such surveillance. And as he is happy for his former players among the current staff, he would not fail to trim them if he found it necessary.

Robson is as shaken as myself to see and hear Ferguson being described by more than one critic as ‘the old man’, who casts a harsh shadow over Old Trafford, ‘who should get rid of’.

Like Ronaldo – without whose goal their most dynamic captain ever reminds United that they would currently be ‘out of the Champions League and in the bottom half of the Premier League’ – Alexander The Great is not the problem. He is the solution.

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