Manchester United in the Barclay’s Premier League in England is THE most valuable sports franchise in the world according to Forbes. They value the franchise at $3B. Just for comparison purposes, here is how Forbes values some franchises that are more widely known in the US:
NY Yankees $2.3B
Dallas Cowboys $2.1B
NE Patriots $1.64B
LA Dodgers $1.62B
Washington Redskins $1.60B
NY Giants $1.48B
Boston Red Sox $1.31B
NY Knicks $1.1B
LA Lakers $1.0B
Toronto Maple Leafs $1.0B
The point here is that Manchester United – owned by the same folks who own the Tampa Bay Bucs – is a major sports entity in the world even though there are lots of sports fans in the US who consider themselves “sports sophisticates” but do not know Manchester United from Manchester Untied or United Airlines. I bring this up because Sir Alex Ferguson – the man who has been the manager of “ManU” for the last 26 years during which time “ManU” has won the Premier League Cup 13 times – announced that he is retiring at the end of this season which is only a couple of weeks away.
Before any US sports fan dislocates his knee with a kneejerk here by trying to compare Sir Alex’s record to John Wooden’s tenure at UCLA, allow me to inform anyone of that bent that John Wooden began coaching at UCLA in 1948 and he did not win his first championship until 1964. John Wooden went 26 years without a single championship in the same tenure that Sir Alex Ferguson won 50% of the championships available to him.
This man has been knighted by the Queen of England as a recognition of his accomplishments as a manager of a futbol team. There are – and have been – great coaches and managers of sports franchises in the US Indeed, there is no equivalent to knighthood here in the US; nevertheless, it would be difficult to point to a more successful coach/manager in US sporting circumstances than Sir Alex Ferguson.
Have a healthy and prosperous retirement, Sir Alex Ferguson; you have earned it
Oh, by the way… Bonne chance to the person who gets to follow you in that post…
The NBA playoffs are into the second round and both the Lakers and the Celtics are on the sidelines. Both of the NBA’s iconic franchises need significant makeovers. Even if Kobe Bryant can come back next year from his Achilles’’ tendon injury and play like the “Kobe of old”, this team needs help. Kobe is 34 years old and his contract – worth $30M in round numbers next year – is up at the end of next year. If the Lakers’ brass were devising a 5-year plan, they would be wise not to have Kobe in a prominent role within that plan as a focal-point player in the fifth year of said plan. And, that reality leads to questions:
1. Is Dwight Howard capable of being the face of the Lakers’ franchise in the future? He is probably the best pure center in the NBA at the moment, but is this the guy who is going to be the leader of the Lakers in the same tradition that folks like Kobe and Magic and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor and George Mikan were leaders of that franchise?
2. Oh, by the way, who is going to be the point guard on the future Lakers’ teams that approach the standard of excellence set by previous Lakers’ teams? I seriously doubt that person is on the roster at this time.
If you think I have painted a bleak picture for the Lakers, let me say now that the outlook for the Boston Celtics may be even bleaker. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce may both deservedly be in the Hall of Fame one of these days. Nevertheless, they are aging stars on the downward arc of their careers and they are not able to carry a team by themselves to a Championship – or even to the Finals – anymore. Father Time has caught up with them…
It is reasonable for Celtics’ fans to expect Rajon Rondo to return at some point next year fully recovered and rehabbed from his injury and surgery. Might that be enough to change the balance of power in the NBA East from the Heat to the Celtics? Candidly, the answer is “NO!” The way for the Celtics to rebuild/retool is to find a way to trade both Pierce and Garnett (who will make a combined $27M next year) and use that salary room to restructure the team. If all the team does is to let the Pierce and Garnett contracts expire, they will be left with Rondo – a top-shelf point guard – and the following list of goombahs:
No offense intended her to a group of players who had productive and honorific college basketball careers, but that lineup plus Rajon Rondo is not going to “unseat the Heat”…
It has been a while since the NBA faced a period where both the Celtics and the Lakers might be “inconsequential” for a few years. Conspiracy theorists will be looking for the next big trade that is lopsided in favor or either or both of these teams…
For the record, I really like Bob Costas and Jim Kaat as an announcing duo for MLB games. I do enjoy hearing Joe Buck and Tim McCarver a lot but with McCarver retiring at the end of this season, I think Costas/Kaat will become the undisputed top announcing tandem for MLB games.
Finally, commenting on the cold weather games that MLB fans endured in the early season 2013, Dwight Perry had this item in the Seattle Times:
“The Mets and Rockies played in 28-degree weather in Denver on Thursday.
“How cold was it? All the players wore No. 99 in honor of Wayne Gretzky.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………