Is Ferguson the greatest coach of all time?

The sight of the bright red cheeks of Sir Alex Ferguson intensely chewing gum on the sideline at Old Trafford is set to become a memory after the great Scot announced the end of his 27 years in charge of Manchester United.

The curtains may be about to close on a managerial career that boasted 49 trophies, but the debate about whether he was the greatest ever is set to begin in bars, cafes, restaurants and around office water coolers.

It’s hard to find a better football coach by the numbers. Ten-time manager of the year, 13-time English Premier League champion, two-time European champion and a coach that has reared more winning players than Bart Cummings has horses. Few football coaches challenge those feats, although perhaps some of Australia’s greats from other codes come close.

In 2010, Harry Kewell spruiked for one coach to make the transition to Australian football. It wasn’t any of his former bosses in the English Premier League, but rugby league great Wayne Bennett. “The way he manages people and deals with sportsmen, surely he’d be worth a look at for football,” Kewell said.

Much like Ferguson, Bennett will be remembered as the man that transformed one club into the powerhouse of their competition. His 21 years at the helm of Brisbane Broncos delivered six premierships and turned the Queensland club into the most consistent performers in the NRL for two decades. While Bennett’s trophy cabinet may not be overflowing to the extent of Ferguson’s, his achievements with the Broncos – and later with St George – are perhaps equally astonishing due to the constraints presented by the NRL salary cap.

While former Collingwood and Brisbane Lions boss Leigh Matthews boasts one of the most enviable win-loss records in AFL, it’s Kevin Sheedy who is perhaps the closest Australian to replicating the longevity of Ferguson. The charismatic Aussie rules guru led Essendon’s Bombers from 1981 until 2007 and guided the club to four flags across three generations of players. Sheedy won back-to-back titles in 1984 and ’85 and tasted grand final success again in 1993. He had to endure another lengthy break between titles before he returned Essendon to the podium in 2000.

From football to stumps, John Buchanan’s eight-year career with Cricket Australia delivered some of the nation’s best success across all formats. A former teacher, Buchanan was renowned for his versatility with his man-management style and his adaptability lead to results such as a whitewash in the Ashes and two ICC World Cups. Upon his own retirement, Michael Hussey attributed much of his personal success to the style of Buchanan’s coaching.

“I felt he knew what to say to you according to your personality. He knew how to motivate the different players according to what made them tick. He understood personalities, and to me he was very positive, reinforcing and encouraging all the time.” Mike Hussey told ESPN.

Footballing rivals

Ferguson’s legacy at Manchester United and the dynasty he established separates his career from many other great football managers.

Unlike Jose Mourinho, Marcelo Lippi, Fabio Capello and other iconic coaches, Ferguson did not depart Old Trafford after his first few champagne showers, nor did he subside to the mounting pressure during the difficult spells.

The 71 year-old Scot’s long and successful era with United draws parallels to that of former Real Madrid boss Miguel Munoz. The Spaniard won three European Cups with Real Madrid in the 1950s as a player and became the first person to win the continent’s greatest prize as a player and a coach when he lifted the cup in 1960, just two years after his retirement.

His 14-year spell as Madrid’s manager is widely seen as the platform for their legacy as one of the most successful clubs of any sport. Munoz went on to win another European Cup in 1966, won La Liga nine times as well as three Copa del Rey titles. He had stints with Sevilla, Las Palmas and Granada before taking charge of the Spanish national team but never lived up to the success he earned at Madrid. His win-loss ratio was dragged down in the latter stages of his career but still equalled that which Ferguson earned at Manchester United.

A name that may not be familiar with many sports fans in Australia but is often brought up when discussing Ferguson is Valeryi Lobanovskyi.

The Ukrainian held a 21-year tutelage of Dynamo Kyiv across two stints and guided the Soviet Union team for 15 years before its collapse. In his first season in charge of Dynamo, he won the 1974 Soviet league and cup double and went on to win 31 more trophies. He became the first coach to guide a Soviet club to a continental title when he won the 1975 UEFA Cup Winners Cup. Given he was aided by the two-horse race that became the Ukrainian top-tier following the Soviet collapse, his achievements could not live up to Ferguson’s.

In what will be the Scot’s 1500th and last game as a coach, many will reflect on a white banner that was held up at Old Trafford in 1989. “3 years of excuses and we’re still crap, ta-ra Fergie.” Twenty-four years, 38 pieces of silver, a bronze statue and knighting later, that fan will not just farewell his club’s greatest ever manager, but perhaps one of the best of all sports.

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Baz Luhrmann: Dancing with devils and demons

Luhrmann with Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of The Great Gatsby.The film world often wonders how Baz Luhrmann’s mind works as he creates movies as hyperkinetic as Moulin Rouge, Australia and now The Great Gatsby.

It must be awash with images.

In a private moment before the Great Gatsby opening, the Australian director said a popular rumour that he is dyslexic is not true but he has to surround himself with “crazy lists and charts” to keep up with the way his mind throws up ideas.

“I exhaust people so much,” he said, resigned to it.

In his home office in New York’s Greenwich Village – where Luhrmann, wife Catherine Martin and their two children live when not in Sydney – dictaphones, leather notebooks, writing boards and giant yellow Post-it notes are dotted around to catch a constant flow of ideas – about projects, people to see and things to do.

Moulin Rouge producer Martin Brown said he had never known the couple to have any downtime in 10 years of working together.

“If you’re doing something that you utterly believe in and you’re totally committed to, why would you go to the footy?” he said.

“To achieve what they’ve achieved, you don’t have a normal life.”

Luhrmann, who has two assistants working around the clock, said there were special rules at BazMark, his production company.

“I recognise [my team] need to sleep odd and weird hours because we just work … well, it’s a blur.”

When things get too much, anyone in his inner circle can take “a NASA nap – no less than 20 minutes, no more than 40”.

His racing mind won’t let him nap, though.

“I’m an incredibly difficult sleeper,” Luhrmann said. “I can have periods when a night can be like you really believe it will never end and you’re dancing with devils and demons. It’s terrifying and I just can’t wait for the sun to come up.

“It’s a wacky thing, my sleep. It’s imagination-related. I’ve got the basic things like everyone has: ‘My god, I’ve got some big deal tomorrow.’ But a lot of it is like fighting – not verbal fighting, it’s emotional fighting. I’ve got to find within myself the confidence or the belief to convey an idea.”

The Great Gatsby is released in the US this weekend then opens the Cannes Film Festival next week. It opens in Australia on May 30.

Read the full story on the private Baz Luhrmann in Good Weekend this Saturday.

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Better performing schools – Education Queensland 2012

Brisbane Grammar School – Spring Hill, 244 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 134 (54.91 per cent)

OP6-10: 68 (27.86 per cent)

OP 11-15: 34 (13.93 per cent)

OP16-20: 6 (2.45 per cent)

OP21-25: 2 (0.81 per cent)

Brisbane State High School – West End, 356 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 152 (42.69 per cent)

OP6-10: 103 (28.93 per cent)

OP11-15: 82 (23.03 per cent)

OP16-20: 19 (5.3 per cent)

OP21-25: 0.

St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace – 202 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 83 (41.09 per cent)

OP6-10: 80 (39.6 per cent)

OP11-15 25 (12.38 per cent)

OP15-20 14 (6.93 per cent)

Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Spring Hill – 227 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 92 (40.5 per cent)

OP6-10: 79 (34.8 per cent)

OP11-15: 43 (18.9 per cent)

OP16-20: 13 (5.72 per cent)

OP 21-25: 0.

St Margarets Anglican Girls School – Ascot, 80 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 32 (40 per cent)

OP6-10: 23 (28.75 per cent)

OP11-15: 20 (25 per cent)

OP16-20: 3 (3.75 per cent)

OP21-25: 2 (2.5 per cent)

Schools with fewest OP1-5s and fewest offers of a tertiary place

– Mackay State High School: Only 78 per cent of the OP eligible students offered a tertiary place;

– Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE, Alexandra Hills; only 67 per cent of the OP eligible students (6) offered a tertiary place;

– Dysart State High School, Dysart: No OP1-5; no OP6-10 students. Just 67 per cent of the OP eligible students offered a tertiary place;

– Everton Park State High School, Brisbane: No OP1-5 students and 83 per cent of year 12 students offered a tertiary place;

– Australialian International Islamic College, Durack; No OP1-5 students, NO OP6-10 students; Just 56 per cent of OP eligible students offered a tertiary place;

– Rosedale State High School, north of Bundaberg: One OP1-5 student and no OP6-10 students, 82 per cent of OP eligible students offered a tertiary place.

Performance of high profile schools

All Hallows – South Brisbane, 197 OP eligible students.

OP1-5: 62 (31.4 per cent)

OP6-10: 73(37 per cent)

OP11-15: 50 (25.3 per cent)

OP16-20: 12 (6.09 per cent)

OP21-25: 0

Anglican Church Grammar School – East Brisbane, 192 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 68 (35.4 per cent)

OP6-10: 62 (32.29 per cent)

OP11-15: 37 (19.27 per cent)

OP16-20: 24 (12.5 per cent)

OP21-25: 1 (o.52 per cent).

Sommerville House, South Brisbane – 136 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 50 ( 36.75 per cent)

OP6-10: 43 (31.61 per cent)

OP11-15: 34 (25 per cent)

OP16-20: 9 (6.6 per cent)

OP21-25: 0

Moreton Bay College – Wynnum West, 119 OP eligible students (girls)

OP1-5: 43 (36.13 per cent)

OP6-10: 44 (36.97 per cent)

OP11-15: 21 (17.64 per cent)

OP16-20: 11 (9.24 per cent)

OP21-25: 0

St Hildas, Southport – 84 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 24 (28.57 per cent)

OP6-10: 29 ( 34.57 per cent)

OP11-15: 23 (27.38 per cent)

OP16-20: 9 (10.71 per cent)

OP21-25: 0

St Laurences College, South Brisbane – 145 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 26 (17.93 per cent)

OP6-10: 41 (28.27 per cent)

OP11-15: 48 (33.10 per cent)

OP16-20: 25 (17.24 per cent)

OP21-25: 5 (3.44 per cent)

St Josephs College, Nudgee – 168 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 44 (26.19 per cent)

OP6-10: 43 (25.59 per cent)

OP11-15: 47 (27.98 per cent)

OP16-20: 30 (17.86 per cent)

OP21-25: 4 (2.3 per cent)

Ipswich Grammar School – 110 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 28 (23.52 per cent)

OP6-10: 39 (32.77 per cent)

OP11-15: 34 (28.57 per cent)

OP16-20: 15 (12.6 per cent)

OP21-25: 3 (2.52 per cent)

Ipswich Girls Grammar School – 70 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 17 (24.29 per cent)

P6-10: 20 (28.57 per cent)

OP11-15: 22 (31.43 per cent)

OP16-20: 11 (15.71 per cent)

OP21-25: 0.

Stuartholme School, Toowong – 121 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 40 (33.05 per cent)

OP6-10: 38 (31.4 per cent)

OP11-15: 33 (27.27 per cent)

OP16-20: 10 (8.26 per cent)

OP21-25: 0/

The Southport School, Southport – 123 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 25 (20.32 per cent)

OP6-10: 36 (29.26 per cent)

OP11-15: 37 (30.08 per cent)

OP16-20: 22 (17.89 per cent)

OP21-25: 3 (2.43 per cent)

Kenmore State High School, Kenmore – 240 OP eligible students

OP1-5: 69 (27.7 per cent)

OP6-10: 72 (28.91 per cent)

OP11-15: 52 (20.88 per cent)

OP21-25: 52 (20.88 per cent)


All school’s outcomes can be read using this link to an alphabetical list of schools. The top half of the file includes general information about the school, while in the second half of the file you can check the OP and QCE achievements of each school.

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Just the ticket: crackdown on scalpers as game chiefs meet ministers

Sporting bodies could soon be able to create and enforce their own terms and conditions on ticket sales as part of anti-scalping legislation proposed by the NSW government.

Sports Minister Graham Annesley and Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts met with representatives from sporting bodies including the NRL, ARU, Cricket Australia and Netball Australia on Thursday to discuss how to protect fans from scalpers.

The government hopes legislation will be passed through Parliament in about three or four months, allowing laws to come into effect before marquee sporting events including the Bledisloe Cup, the NRL grand final and next year’s Ashes Test at the SCG.

The issue is a timely one, with tickets for the Wallabies versus British and Irish Lions Tests being sold for up to six times the original price. A bronze category ticket for the Suncorp encounter is selling on viagogo苏州美睫培训.au for $549 when the original price was just $95. A platinum ticket was recently put up for sale at $855 (original price $295), while some eBay tickets for the Sydney match are selling for more than double.

There will be further consultation with the entertainment industry and other stakeholders, but the final version tabled to cabinet is aimed at “reducing red tape” for sporting bodies. For instance, they will be able to directly force secondary sellers, such as eBay, to cancel tickets and remove them from sale if they are being sold at exorbitant prices.

In Queensland, where anti-scalping legislation exists, there is an extra step as sporting bodies have to report the matter to police, who then have to pursue the matter with resellers.

The sporting bodies themselves will also be able to determine the maximum price that tickets are able to be resold at. They could determine, for instance, that nothing gets resold at a premium of more than 10 per cent.

There were also discussions about requiring websites such as eBay to display a photo of the ticket. This will allow purchasers to view the original purchase price, minimising the risk of being lumped with a premium fee for lower-category tickets. It will also make it easier for sporting bodies to cancel tickets they believe are grossly overpriced.

“We are about empowering the sporting codes to do whatever they feel they need to do to protect the interest of their own fans,” Annesley said. “It’s giving them the option to determine to what extent they feel the obligation to protect their fans. The legislation will also enforce the outcome of that. There will be requirements on the secondary marketplace they will have to adhere to to be within the law.”

Roberts added: “We’re bringing back openness, transparency and honesty in the secondary marketplace, which is crucial. There’s a great deal of fraud that occurs to the detriment of consumers.

“As a fan, how can you compete with these auto-bots when the tickets are released? We’re empowering the sporting codes to address the issues.”

The proposed legislation was greeted warmly by sporting bodies. “The proposal . . . would also position NSW as a leader in fighting ticket scalping,” an ARU spokesman said. “We would encourage other jurisdictions to follow their approach.”

A Cricket Australia spokesman added: “Our hope is that potential future NSW legislation would become a best-practice model.”

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Sin Bin: SBW in Dragons’ sights – all in charity’s name, of course

Once were teammates: Manly’s Steve Matai (middle row, second from right) and Sydney Roosters Sonny Bill Williams (front row, centre) were chuffed in this team photo of Mount Albert Grammar School rugby league side in Auckland in 2001. Photo: SuppliedSydney Roosters officials have been assured they have nothing to fear after a member of St George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust’s staff successfully bid for a lunch with Sonny Bill Williams at a charity event. Williams donated the lunch date to help raise funds for St George Hospital’s Cancer Care Centre at last Saturday night’s Hurstville City Council Mayoral Ball, of which the Dragons were a sponsor. However, she insists the lunch is for her brother and father, who are big Roosters fans, and no one will attempt to persuade the dual international to join the Red V.

Reddy for Queensland?Just weeks after representing City, Wests Tigers centre Joel Reddy wants to play for Queensland under the new father-son rule. Reddy, who also played for City in 2010, grew up in South Australia but had always been considered eligible for NSW as he was born in Sydney. However, his father Rod played for Queensland in the inaugural State of Origin match in 1980 and Joel now wants to follow suit if he gets the opportunity.Carney in Kogarah

Dragons officials were as surprised as anyone by Todd Carney’s appearance at Jubilee Oval last Monday night for their match against Manly and had given up on signing the Sharks five-eighth some time ago. Instead, their focus is on finding a halfback who can join them this season after being unable to finalise a deal with Castleford to release Rangi Chase. Warriors back-rower Feleti Mateo is also on a list of other possible signings in St George Illawarra’s sights. The Dragons were interested in Carney before signing Melbourne five-eighth Gareth Widdop but were unable to compete with big money offers from the Warriors and Penrith. Sin Bin was told Carney only attended the match because his manager David Riolo was going to watch the under-20s game and he had arranged to go out for dinner nearby. Carney sat with Riolo while the Holden Cup clash was on but left before the NRL game to go to a restaurant.Rumour mill in overdrive

Officials at a non-Sydney club are rumoured to be getting tired of constant reports about one of their rising stars out nightclubbing. If the player in question can’t stay at home, Sin Bin has been told that he should at least change venues as the club is aware every time he goes to his regular haunt.Rodwell backs himself

It’s not often that a match official phones a radio station to defend his decisions, as Matthew Rodwell did last Monday. Rodwell, who was the video referee in last Saturday night’s Melbourne-Canberra match, phoned Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast program after hearing Terry Kennedy and Michael Slater discuss a controversial decision to award a try to Billy Slater, despite what appeared to be obstruction by Storm teammate Jason Ryles. Rodwell said that Shaun Fensom had planted his feet and dropped his shoulder so the Canberra second-rower was already committed to tackling Ryles and therefore had not been impeded. While it was refreshing to hear a match official publicly explain a ruling, Sin Bin understands that not everyone in the NRL refereeing ranks agreed it was the right call and if the Raiders hadn’t won the match Rodwell’s decision would have come in for far more scrutiny.Lazarus’ bizarre bid

Former Wests Tigers halfback Blake Lazarus has made a unusual bid to return to the NRL club by tweeting a YouTube compilation of his career highlights and telling coach Mick Potter, “ill play for free #ifneeded”. However, the problem for Lazarus, who plays for Calliope Roosters in Rockhampton with Steve Southern and Josh Cordoba, is that the Tigers’ huge injury toll has put the club over the second-tier salary cap and they have to shed players to use anyone else.

Saad stands up

Joe Saad, who campaigned alongside Roy Spagnolo when the 3P ticket swept to power at Parramatta in 2009, will stand as an independent in Saturday’s leagues club elections. Saad is said to have been on the outer with the 3P directors for some time, and resigned from that ticket. He sent flyers out that read: “While I am very proud of what has been achieved with the current board, there comes a time when people’s ideas and visions differ. Given this, I now feel that I can best serve our club as an independent member of the board should I be re-elected. This will allow me to drive successful and strategic initiatives that better our beloved club today and into the future.” Saad was believed to have been angered by the decision to sack coach Stephen Kearney without his input last year. He confirmed to Fairfax Media that he was standing as an independent.Support in Wellington

The last league match in Wellington was the 2010 Four Nations Test between New Zealand and England, in which Bulldogs props Greg Eastwood and James Graham wore the No.8 jerseys for their respective countries. On Saturday night, they will pack down alongside each other against the Warriors. A crowd of about 25,000 is expected.

with Glenn Jackson

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