Manchester United’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson has shocked the footballing world after announcing his retirement after this season. His 26 year reign at Old Trafford will finally come to an end, but the 71 year old will remain at United to be director.
His term at United was truly an astonishing one winning 13 league titles and two Champions League crowns. In total, he won 38 trophies with the Red Devils and FIFA president doubts the world of football will ever see a run like his again. Sepp Blatter said on Twitter, “His achievements in the game place without a doubt as one of the ‘greats’. Will his longevity at the top ever be repeated?”
In a statement released on the Manchester United website, the Scot said, “”The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time. It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so. The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level whilst the structure of the youth set-up will ensure that the long- term future of the club remains a bright one.
“Our training facilities are amongst the finest in global sport and our home Old Trafford is rightfully regarded as one of the leading venues in the world. Going forward, I am delighted to take on the roles of both director and ambassador for the club. With these activities, along with my many other interests, I am looking forward to the future. I must pay tribute to my family, their love and support has been essential. My wife Cathy has been the key figure throughout my career, providing a bedrock of both stability and encouragement. Words are not enough to express what this has meant to me.
“As for my players and staff, past and present, I would like to thank them all for a staggering level of professional conduct and dedication that has helped to deliver so many memorable triumphs. Without their contribution the history of this great club would not be as rich. In my early years, the backing of the board, and Sir Bobby Charlton in particular, gave me the confidence and time to build a football club, rather than just a football team.
“Over the past decade, the Glazer family have provided me with the platform to manage Manchester United to the best of my ability and I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with a talented and trustworthy chief executive in David Gill. I am truly grateful to all of them.
“To the fans, thank you. The support you have provided over the years has been truly humbling. It has been an honour and an enormous privilege to have had the opportunity to lead your club and I have treasured my time as manager of Manchester United.”
Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson go hand in hand. It certainly will be a bizarre sight next season seeing United play without Ferguson on the bench chewing gum, screaming at the fourth referee or raising his arms up in delight when his side scores a goal. Life without Fergie will now start over in Trafford, but for now let’s just pay tribute to what he has done for this club and what he has done for football. Sir Alex Ferguson will be missed.
Follow Josh on Twitter @joshchutan