Is Man Utd too big a club to manage?

When former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson steps up to the lectern to deliver the first of his Harvard Business School lectures in May, he won’t be short of material.

He knows all about the art of building winning teams, how to deal with the pressure of the media and, of course, the secrets of time management, more commonly known in football circles as "Fergie Time."

Ferguson retired last May after claiming a 13th English Premier League title with United – the 49th and final trophy of an illustrious 39-year career in football management.

It’s a record of unparalleled achievement, but barely a year after the Scot stepped down it appears there is one gaping hole in the Ferguson management repertoire – successful succession planning.

United’s sacking of David Moyes must be the bitterest of pills for Ferguson to swallow. Not just because he had handpicked Moyes as the “Chosen One,” but also because of the mess the club now finds itself in.

Out of the European Champions League group stages until September 2015 at the earliest, more pressingly United’s squad needs a major overhaul – arguably another unwanted legacy from the Ferguson era.

The departure in July 2012 of Frenchman Paul Pogba, rapidly emerging as one of Europe’s most talented midfielders at Juventus, is looking increasingly like the steal of the 21st century.

Just as importantly, United's next coach needs to establish a coherent playing philosophy, which Moyes never quite managed to do.

“Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp were not available last summer, but hypothetically: the kind of football that they advocate is arguably more progressive, fluid and unpredictable than the kind that Man Utd have played this season,” Tor-Kristian Karlsen, former chief executive of French club Monaco, told CNN.

“As regards to Jose Mourinho – now Chelsea manager – I'm surprised Manchester United didn't make any endeavors to hire him as Ferguson’s successor. I would imagine that he'd have been more assertive in the transfer market and probably attracted more respect from the players.”

It is arguable, given Ferguson’s ability to hoover up so many trophies, that no-one could have successfully succeeded him, but the speed of the decline has been a surprise.

“I don't think anyone could ever imagine Manchester United falling out of the top four and getting knocked out of two cups at home to reasonably weak opposition,” added Karlsen, who is now working as a consultant in the football industry, including advising club owners and boards on succession planning.

But the way Moyes struggled with the task of succeeding his fellow Scot begs the question as to whether United has become too big a club for one man to successfully run, given Ferguson’s legacy.

Should the United board have insisted upon a more radical overhaul of the club’s football operation when Ferguson stepped down?

"What you have to remember is that Alex Ferguson evolved into that role over 26 years,” former Fulham manager Rene Meulensteen, who worked with Ferguson in various coaching capacities for over a decade at Old Trafford, told CNN.

“He was completely embedded in the club. He was in a completely different position to David Moyes,” added the Dutchman.

“Maybe in hindsight David probably underestimated the magnitude of the position. I tried to explain to David that it would be like going from steering a yacht to a cruise liner.

"Ferguson adapted to the role – he learned how to delegate and trust. He was very good at stepping back to see the bigger picture and making sure the cruise liner stayed on course. When you manage other clubs you are probably able to be more hands-on.”

At Champions League holders Bayern Munich, the team’s former star striker Karl-Heinz Rummenigge works in the boardroom, while another ex-Germany international Matthias Sammer is deployed as the club’s sporting director.

It is a model that has helped make Bayern probably the best club in the world at the moment.

“I honestly believe that a club of Manchester United's size and stature is too big to rest on the shoulders of one man,” said Karlsen. “Ferguson was able to build his empire over years and years, consolidating his power gradually.

“That simply isn't possibly in today's reality. I'm surprised Man Utd haven't adapted a more continental management structure.”

Meanwhile the hunt is on for Moyes’ successor, with Ferguson reportedly again involved in helping find the right man for the job.

With Klopp and Guardiola appearing happy at Borussia Dortmund and Munich respectively, Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal and Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti are reportedly leading contenders to take charge at Old Trafford.

“The decision on the next manager is crucial,” said Karlsen. “If they manage to get that appointment right and spend their resources wisely in the summer, Manchester United might even be back chasing titles next season.

“It's maybe the biggest club in the world and will have to do a lot of things wrong in order to stay unsuccessful over a long period of time.”

Karlsen has one final thought as to a candidate the United board might want to put on their shortlist – Italian coach Luciano Spalletti, who has most recently managed Zenit St. Petersburg and Roma.

“Spalletti's one of the greatest coaches in world football,” said Karlsen. “One who is able to improve individual players and teach his teams to play according to sophisticated attacking patterns. One day he will take charge of a big club, I have no doubt.”

CNN World Sport

NFL Draft Needs: Plenty of quality receivers available; no excuses, Panthers

Before the NFL draft on May 8-10, we’ll be looking at all the key prospects and also breaking them down by position. In our “Draft Needs” series we will also examine which teams will be in the market at each position, looking to fill their remaining roster holes.


Carolina Panthers: Assuming Carolina does not plan to run a wing-T offense this season, the Panthers will need to draft more than one receiver. Carolina released all-time leading receiver Steve Smith, who signed with Baltimore. Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon each signed with other teams during free agency. Carolina replaced those receivers with Jerricho Cotchery (Pittsburgh), Jason Avant (Philadelphia) and Tiquan Underwood (Tampa Bay) … not necessarily the second coming of Washington’s “Fun Bunch.”

Carolina could use its first-round pick on USC receiver Marqise Lee, who won the 2012 Biletnikoff Award with a breakout season (1,721 yards, 14 TDs) before nagging leg injuries led to 791 yards and four TDs last season. He would be an instant upgrade to Carolina’s roster, but the same could be said about Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, who is similar to Smith. Carolina could justify selecting receivers in the first two rounds. NEED LEVEL: Extremely high

Oakland Raiders: With all due respect to James Jones and Rod Streater, there is not a game-changer on this roster. Jones signed a three-year deal with Oakland this offseason. He played through nagging injuries last season, but still had a career-high 817 receiving yards. He led the NFL with 14 touchdown receptions in 2012, but Aaron Rodgers was his quarterback, not Matt Schaub. Oakland could add Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins and have a threat in the passing game. Texas A&M’s Mike Evans is a top-10 talent too, and he would be an instant upgrade as well. NEED LEVEL: Medium high

Tennessee Titans: Nate Washington, Dexter McCluster and Kendall Wright are a good group of receivers, but Jake Locker still does not have a reliable No.1 option. Tennessee was hopeful Kenny Britt would emerge into a standout, but he made more noise for his off-the-field antics. Tennessee may not need a receiver in the first-round, but LSU’s Odell Beckham can stretch the field and would give the Titans more options. NEED LEVEL: Medium high

St. Louis Rams: Most teams try to build around their franchise quarterback, but St. Louis has failed to give Sam Bradford some much-needed help. Tavon Austin excelled as a rookie last season, but Chris Givens took a step backward, while Stedman Bailey is still developing. St. Louis should address pressing needs in the first-round, but Penn State receiver Allen Robinson, LSU’s Jarvis Landry or Beckham could make Bradford feel better about his options. NEED LEVEL: Medium

Dallas Cowboys: After Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, things gets really shaky. Former Cowboys receiver Miles Austin remains unsigned because of his annual hamstring difficulties, and considering Tony Romo is 34 and recovering from back surgery, Dallas’ window of opportunity is closing. Of course some might say the window has been closed for years, and that is a fair assessment, too. Dallas needs help defensively, but players such as Clemson’s Martavis Bryant, Fresno State’s Davante Adams, BYU’s Cody Hoffman, and UCLA’s Shaq Evans are realistic possibilities for Dallas after the first-round. Adding a tight end, such as Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins, is another solid option for Dallas. NEED LEVEL: Medium

Other teams in need: N.Y. Jets, Kansas City, Seattle, San Francisco

NFL Draft Needs series
April 18: Linebacker
April 19: Defensive line
April 20: Offensive line
April 21: Running back
April 22: Receiver/tight end
April 23: Quarterback
April 24: Defensive back
April 25: Running back

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Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

Shutdown Corner – NFL – Yahoo Sports

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Jeep gives Cherokee its yin and yang with Sageland and Urbane concepts

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Jeep Cherokee Sageland design concept

Among the design concepts Jeep has prepared for Beijing Motor Show this year are a pair of Cherokees dressed up in contrasting schemes.

In one corner we have the Sageland concept pictured above, drawing its inspiration from Shangri-La with an Ivory Peal tri-coat and bronze trim for the grille, fascia appliqués, roof rack, sunroof, mirror caps and exhaust tips. Inside it’s all earth tones with light gray Nappa leather seats and red and blue top-stitching inspired by traditional Chinese themes.

Jeep Cherokee Urbane design concept

Meanwhile the Urbane concept (pictured right) takes the Cherokee in a different direction with steel blue metallic paintjob and black accents. Inside it adopts the theme of Chinese calligraphy with Piano Black accepts and dark red Nappa leather.

Though Jeep isn’t saying with which engines these specific concepts are equipped, the Cherokee is available in China with the same engines offered here: the 2.4-liter MultiAir four or the 3.2-liter Pentastar V6, both mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Scroll down for the official press release.

Continue reading Jeep gives Cherokee its yin and yang with Sageland and Urbane concepts

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Mario Golf: World Tour tees off May 2 for 3DS

Nintendo 3DS owners will have a new game to check out early next month called Mario Golf: World Tour. The game is set to launch on May 2 for the … Continue reading

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Gear Fit Sold Out

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Truecaller brings universal caller ID to iOS through a workaround

Truecaller, the Swedish reverse-lookup phone directory, has expanded its Live Caller ID feature to its iOS app, allowing users to quickly look up unknown numbers from the home screen, the company announced on Tuesday.

While Truecaller’s Live Caller ID feature has been available on Android since 2010, it’s much more difficult to integrate on iOS because Apple’s platform does not let apps intercept calls. This means Truecaller had to find a workaround, but it’s a fairly innocuous one: When you receive a phone call from a number you don’t recognize, you simply take a screenshot of the call. Truecaller references that screenshot against its database of phone numbers, and then Siri reads out the name.

The demo video is short and sweet:

Speaking to TechCrunch, Truecaller CEO Alan Mamedi expressed a hope that Truecaller could gain access to Apple’s calling APIs in the future, to make the process a little less kludgy. While that seems unlikely, there’s no denying that the company has some momentum recently: it raised nearly $ 19 million from Sequoia Capital in February, and it wants you to know it’s a big deal in India.

Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
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Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone has cancerous mole on skin removed, says he’s fine

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone had a cancerous mole removed from his skin but said he’s fine, ABC affiliate WKBW first reported.

For a short time Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills website had a story with the headline, “Coach Marrone announces he has cancer,” referring to head coach Doug Marrone. Then the story, which was obviously unfinished and left space for the writer to add a quote from Marrone and the specific cancer, was deleted. That led to a lot of speculation.

WKBW sports director Jeff Russo had the news.


Here’s the full statement from Marrone, via the Bills public relations staff:

“During a recent doctor’s visit, it was discovered that I had a cancerous mole on my skin, which has since been removed. The only follow up required is to have my moles checked every 3 months and that basically is the end of the story. The recent extraction procedure will have no effect on my ability to coach the team moving forward.”

Hopefully, as Marrone said, this is the end of the story and he has no further issues with his health going forward.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

Shutdown Corner – NFL – Yahoo Sports

Intel’s next Thunderbolt port can handle two 4K displays at once

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