The maximum most people who have stayed in the same job for 25 years can hope for is a card, or at a stretch a bunch of flowers. Not however, if that job happens to be manager of Manchester United.
You may have noticed that Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated his 25th anniversary as United manager on Saturday, and if the drab 1-0 win over Sunderland failed to accurately capture the magnitude of the achievement the off pitch histrionics certainly did not.
A commemorative dinner, a stand named after the Glaswegian and a monopolisation of the weekend’s media coverage were just some of the memorial events to mark Ferguson’s achievement.
There were celebrations at the Reebok Stadium as well this weekend. Bolton have long been in a slump, a downfall which was instigated by their 5-0 loss to Stoke in last season’s FA Cup semi-final so perhaps a 5-0 win over the Potters is the start of a Bolton resurgence. Nevertheless the three points were much needed and see Owen Coyle’s team rise to 18th in the Premier League.
There was no such suggestion of a renaissance for Wigan. A league worst eighth consecutive defeat to fellow strugglers Wolves keeps them firmly cemented to the bottom of the table.
On Saturday Manchester City were given their toughest test of the season so far at Loftus Road. City’s 3-2 win over QPR took their goal tally to 39 in just 11 games and ensures they remain unbeaten at the top of the Premier League.
In League One, Bury triumphed in their Greater Manchester derby with Oldham. Two Andy Bishop goals were enough to give Richie Barker’s team a 2-0 victory. Rochdale managed to squander an eighth minute lead, losing 3-1 away to Milton Keynes Dons.
In the Blue Square Premier Stockport County were held at home by Hayes and Yeading in an enthralling 3-3 draw.
In other sport, England produced a genuinely competitive performance against Australia in rugby league’s Four Nations. The 36-20 loss at Wembley had more to do with the Aussie’s brilliance than England’s shortcomings.
England will be hoping for a chance to enact revenge over their colonial cousins in the final in just under two week’s time, but they will have to dispatch New Zealand first.
Hero: Sir Alex Ferguson
It is only right that on the weekend of his 25th anniversary Sir Alex Ferguson should be cast as the weekend’s hero, after all only heroes (and sponsors) have stands named in their honour.
Villain: Carlos Tevez
Carlos Tevez makes it a hatrick of villainous weekends. The latest news to emanate from the Tevez PR machine was that the Argentinian plans to sue Graham Souness for his post-match comments after that night in Munich. An act which says as much about the litigious state of society as it does about Tevez, and one which must be completely refuted. Imagine a world where pundits speak not what they think, but a medley of PR waffle.
Any Bolton victory at the moment can almost be deemed as an upset, but especially a 5-0 drubbing of Stoke, who at the start of the season were tipped as dark horses for Champions League qualification.
Performance: Jonny Wilkinson
Wilkinson’s autobiography, the imaginatively titled Jonny, pulled no punches in the first of its three-part serialisation in The Times. The World Cup’s much publicised off-field antics are just one of the topics Wilkinson provides a fascinating insight into. Wilkinson’s frank honest is in stark contrast to the views of Chris Ashton’s autobiography, Splashdown, in which Ashton lays the blame at the door of the media.
There 2-0 derby win over Oldham Athletic ensures the bragging rights and keeps them seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Loser: Chris Ashton
Releasing an autobiography just weeks after a disastrous World Cup campaign is never a good idea (unless you are Jonny Wilkinson), just ask England’s footballers.