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Will Ferguson pick the next man as well?

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According to reports, the failure of his chosen successor will not lead to Alex Ferguson being excluded from the process of finding David Moyes's replacement.

Clive Brunskill

Shock! Horror! Alex Ferguson's going to get another shot at picking Manchester United's new manager! Pitchforks! Torches!

As the Mirror put it: "Man United to give Alex Ferguson a say in picking Moyes' successor":

Old Trafford legend who bungled the choice of his own replacement a year ago will be consulted as Louis van Gaal talks continue. ... Despite the sacking of David Moyes - his hand-picked successor last summer - after a disastrous 10 months in charge, Fergie will again play a prominent role in this new selection process.

The key word there is the word 'despite', one of the most powerful words in the journalistic lexicon. 'Despite' creates conflict; it carries with it the suggestion that the things could, and perhaps should, be otherwise. In this case, the implication is that the removal of David Moyes, Ferguson's hand-picked successor, could and perhaps should have led to Ferguson's removal from the selection process.

'Despite' is the only things that stops the story being 'Man In Senior Directorial Position Will Contribute To Decision Being Taken At Senior Directorial Level, More As We Get It'.

There are two ways that Ferguson could be isolated from the process. The first would be his formal removal from his position, which would be long and hideously messy. For good or ill, Ferguson is a powerful and influential man, who more than any other is responsible for the shape of United. The Glazers owe him. So does Edward Woodward. In any case, he's a man with an awful lot of friends in an awful lot of places. Not somebody that you just throw in the bin, particularly when things are plenty chaotic already.

The second option is to informally exclude him. And this may well happen. After all, if there is a desire on the part of any board member to see Ferguson's power diminished — and TBB has absolutely no idea if there is, and would be surprised if there was — then Moyes's defenestration has done the job for them. Once Ferguson's recommendations were untouchable; now they are not. Once his word was law; now it is a suggestion, to be taken on board and considered along with all the rest. If there is any power struggle going on at the top, then it's been won, at least for the moment.

Besides, who do you want ringing up Louis van Gaal, or Carlo Ancelotti, or whoever? One of the greatest managers the game has ever seen, or Woodward? As tempting as it might be to want Ferguson to suffer his part of Moyes's shame, the fact remains that with Ferguson out of the picture, there is hardly any footballing knowledge at the top of United at all. Compared to his continuing involvement, that's a far more terrifying thought. And it's not like he can pick David Moyes again ...

... no, no he can't. He definitely can't.