Sir Alex Ferguson judges his success by his bulging trophy cabinet – but the Manchester United manager insists that is far from the only criteria a manager's achievements should be assessed on.
In the latest of a series of chats with US-based satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM, Ferguson outlined the difficulties present day managers endure in their quest for results. An increasingly short-term view of the world stems, in Ferguson's opinion, from a changing media landscape, which lends itself to sensationalism, triggering fear and panic amongst supporters and club officials.
It is an easy conclusion for the 69-year-old to reach. After all, his own position at Old Trafford is bullet proof thanks to an incredible collection of silverware he hopes to increase this season. Ferguson joined United in 1986, after a trophy-laden spell with Aberdeen, and after a difficult start at Old Trafford the honours have flowed thick and fast. In his tenure he has steered United to 11 Premier League titles as well as twice winning the Champions League, against Bayern Munich in the treble winning season of 1999 and again in 2008 after Chelsea were beaten on penalties in Moscow.
"I judge my success by trophies," he said. "We have a good record of that and a good history, too. We are very ambitious to maintain that success. We know we have to perform to make sure we are always up there.
"But what is success? You could have a team who finishes in the top three or four every season and get to the final of a cup competition but don't go on and win it. I don't think that is failure. That is relative success.
"You have kept your team in a competitive situation throughout the season. You are in Europe and contesting the Champions League."
It would be easy to apply that description to Arsenal, who will bid to end a five-year wait for silverware on Sunday when they tackle Birmingham in the Carling Cup final at Wembley. Not that Ferguson is making the link in public.
Indeed, as far as Arsenal are concerned, together with his own club, he feels the Londoners offer the template for how managers should be allowed to do their jobs at a time when Carlo Ancelotti is under severe pressure at Chelsea despite winning the domestic Double last term.
"It is not healthy being a manager these days," said Ferguson. "It is a results industry generated by a really aggressive press. The nature of the fans and owners have changed. Time is of the essence.
"You have good examples, at Manchester United and Arsenal, that if you give a manager time, it works. You can fulfil all your ideas and philosophies about how a team is run and how they play."Reuse content