ALEX Ferguson is one storied character.

Unless one were living under a rock for the last twenty years or so, it is not possible not to have heard of the colorful Scot, whether for good things or bad. He is, after all, partly responsible for engineering one of the most famous success stories of all-time.

Sir Alex–knighted by the Queen in 1999 for his “services to the game of football”–managed Manchester United Football Club for an impossibly long time of twenty-seven years. During that time, he won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League and two UEFA Champions League titles.

Mostly famous for his knack of winning trophies, Ferguson is also a widely-quoted figure, and just as renowned for his witty and sometimes quirky remarks, as he is for his silverware. During the 2003 title race, he famously remarked--“It’s getting tickly now–squeaky-bum time, I call it.”

“Squeaky-bum time” is now a famous mainstay of the urban lingo, at least in Britain, it is. Sir Alex meant mostly the same thing as what Americans call “crunch time,” only I would say, in a more colourful, and quintessentially British manner.

In the context of the Premier League, his term means that period leading to the home-stretch, when all bets are off, anything can happen, and everything is possible. It is that time in the season when the favourites start losing games, the dark horses start galloping faster, and the un-anointed suddenly start showing the elite that they too have a say in who gets to lift the trophy at the end of the season. Literally, everyone sits at the edge of their seats, unable to relax. Thus, the reference to “squeaky bum.”

Well, we too are in “squeaky bum time.”

A year before PNoy steps down from his post as leader of the nation, the presidential race is resembling the title race of Ferguson’s time. Vice President Jejomar Binay, seemingly the shoo-in for the presidency for the longest time, is suddenly finding that being frontrunner is not necessarily an iron-clad guarantee for the presidency. Hot on his heels is Senator Grace Poe, who famously finds herself in the place that Binay was in the previous election, when the latter came from behind to pip favorite Mar Roxas to the VP post. Dark-horse Joseph Estrada is still lurking in the shadows, just quietly biding his time and watching his ratings go up with every survey. And of course, there is the previously unanointed Rodrigo Duterte, who will have something to say on who eventually finds himself president, whether he likes it or not.

What made Ferguson so famous is how he managed his team during “squeaky bum time.” While all around him others’ title hopes were collapsing, Manchester United always seemed to hold its own when it counted most. They did not always continue to win spectacularly, and blow teams away all the time. But they always managed to win 1-0, or at least salvage draws even in the most hopeless-looking of situations.

So who gets to be president of the Philippines in 2016? Well, Sir Alex has been out of football for two years already. He is probably getting bored watching Manchester United from the directors’ box just about now. So why not form a beeline for his services, as he may just have a word or two of useful advice.

What say you, Jojo?

(twitter.com/asbbatuhan)