Found this on the MSN.com news page today. It's a series that asks, "What If" things had been different (some guy has obviously read the same book I have) and in this case asks the question, "What if Alex Ferguson had been sacked in 1990" They say -
Manchester United's 1989-90 season was a patchy affair. The team began with a win against Arsenal, but suffered an early run of six defeats and two draws in eight games. The press singled out manager Alex Ferguson for culpability. Then in January 1990, after losing seven games in a row, Manchester United faced an away game at Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup. Speculation over Ferguson's future intensified. Tabloid papers bristled with certainty that the man would be sacked if his team failed to beat Forest. In the event Manchester United won the game 1-0 thanks to a goal from Mark Robins, and went on to reach the final and win the FA Cup itself. Alex Ferguson's future at Old Trafford seemed secure. Might Ferguson have been dismissed had his team failed to beat Nottingham Forest? If he had been relieved of his job, the story of the last two decades of English - and possibly international - football could have been very different.
I would argue that English football would have been very different. Liverpool were about to lose the dominant position they had held for two decades and in the early 90's, the first division/premiership seemed relatively even (compared with today) There were a number of teams who were regularly finishing in the top six, including Aston Villa, Arsenal, Leeds Utd, Blackburn (thanks to JW) Sheffield Weds, Notts Forrest, QPR, Tottenham and dare I say it Manchester City. Had Ferguson gone in 1990, there would most certainly not have been an Eric Cantona playing at Old Trafford, no change in the youth policy to bring them Giggs, Beckham etc and more importantly with no United domination of the mid to late '90's, the spoils of European soccer and TV money would have been spread more evenly between those other clubs. Meanwhile, Ferguson's successor (United's eighth manager in twenty years would have had to have grappled with the same problems every manager from Wilf McGuiness to Ferguson experienced that being the live ghost of Matt Busby and too high expectation from fans.