In a surprise move which could have consequences for Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant Mike Phelan, former Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz could be on his way back to Old Trafford for the THIRD time. The Portuguese coach was sacked as national team manager last week after he was banned for six months by Portugal’s anti doping authority. He was alleged to have insulted drug testers as they arrived at Portugal’s pre World Cup training camp ahead of their departure to South Africa.
Queiroz first became a coach at United eight years ago. He began his work at the start of the 2002–03 season working alongside Ferguson who had gone without an assistant manager since the departure of Steve McClaren in the summer of 2001. Following Queiroz’s arrival, Manchester United succeeded in catching league leaders Arsenal and claim the Premier League title.
He then took the Real Madrid job just one week after David Beckham’s move to the Bernabeu but returned to United 12 months later and stayed for a further four years. Fergie has credited him with giving the club’s transfer policy a more international dimension.
Many reports claimed that Queiroz was one of the main reasons for Roy Keane’s departure from Old Trafford in November 2005. According to Keane it was said, he did not like the way Queiroz was given so much responsibility as if he were manager of the club and the Ireland captain did not like the tactics that Queiroz employed. One of the main outbursts of Keane’s now infamous MUTV interview was aimed directly at Queiroz. As nobody in the media has ever seen this tape it is difficult to know exactly what was said.
In March 2008 Benfica once again approached Queiroz to become their manager and had made a formal request to United but Ferguson was heavily involved in the 2007-08 Premier League title race, five points clear at the top with just seven games remaining as well as being in the quarter finals of the Champions League.
Ferguson started to push for Queiroz to be his successor in the Old Trafford hot seat and discouraged any possible suitors from approaching him however, rumours over the summer of 2008 continued to link Queiroz with the Portugal national team following the departure of Felipe Scolari and United finally agreed to release Queiroz from his contract in July of th
The Portugese coach return to Old Trafford, if it happens, would see a restructuring of United’s coaching set up with Phelan reverting to a coaching role alongside Dutchman Rene Meulensteen. Questions have often been raised as to whether Phelan is the right man for the job of Ferguson’s number two. A return of Queiroz to Old Trafford will enable Sir Alex to continue with what was interrupted by Portugal’s intervention two years ago.
Will a Queiroz return be good for Manchester United?