Sir Alex Ferguson might well be thinking of carrying on until he is 70, surpassing the great Sir Matt Busby's 24-year reign at Manchester United, but he is proving a rare breed as football management gets tougher with every game. As his rival Arsene Wenger confessed just a week ago during Arsenal's turbulent time and with his own future in question, "You go from fantastic to a catastrophe". Or vice versa in his case.
The Frenchman will be relieved after his side's win at Chelsea on Sunday which defies logic considering their recent troubles. Like Ferguson on the past, he refused to panic, and neither should Luiz Felipe Scolari as his Chelsea leadership will come under extra scrutiny. Crucially, the respective chairmen of Arsenal and United gave their managers support even when the supporters may have had their misgivings.
Ferguson will hope the same luxury is afforded to some of his former players, who have tried to show they can make the transition to the coaching side, but finding it can be a soul-destroying place when things are not going right. Mark Hughes has already been given a vote of confidence at Manchester City after a sticky spell which has seen his side down at the wrong end of the league table. Steve Bruce has also been backed at Wigan and will have been lifted by a victory over West Brom. But it is more worrying for two of their old Old Trafford mates after the weekend results.
Roy Keane is showing all the signs he is losing the will to carry on at the Stadium of Light. Grizzled and grumpy, he has been questioning himself after a run of five defeats in the last six league games. Paul Ince, another of Ferguson's midfield warriors, is facing a similar battle to prove he can cut it in the top flight. A 3-2 defeat at Portsmouth means Blackburn are now winless in nine and relegation looms. Ince's appointment was always a gamble, but the question remains just how long Rovers, with their top-flight status at stake, will give him before action is taken.
Patience is not a word associated much with football in the modern era and the situations for Keane and Ince highlight why experience could well be the key ingredient to success. No one has that more than Ferguson and he could push Ince and Keane closer to the exit door as both must next take their sides to the English and European champions. If the apprentices can put one over their old master, it would give them breathing space. Defeat may not be enough.