Sir Alex Ferguson to retire as Manchester United manager
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Sir Alex Ferguson to retire as Manchester United manager


BBC- 8 May 2013 Sir Alex Ferguson will step down as Manchester United manager at the end of the season after 26 years in charge.


The Scot, 71, has won 38 trophies during his reign at Old Trafford and will now become a director and ambassador for the club.

His haul includes 13 league titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups.

"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time," Ferguson said.


"Everton have yet to receive a formal approach from Manchester United for David Moyes - but all signs now point to the Scot being swiftly appointed as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor.

"The choice will raise eyebrows in some quarters because the Scot has no serious European pedigree or trophies during his 11 years at Goodison Park but it is clear his stability, ability to build teams and willingness to give youth its chance appeals to the Old Trafford hierarchy.

"And his long-standing friendship with Ferguson will help ease potential tensions between the new manager's office and the boardroom. There is mutual trust and admiration between the pair."

Everton's David Moyes is the bookmakers' favourite to take over, with Jose Mourinho, currently at Real Madrid, also tipped.

BBC sports editor David Bond says United are confident of announcing a successor to Ferguson before the weekend.

He believes they are looking for someone who understands the club's history and is committed to youth development while employing an attractive, attacking style of football.

While United look for his successor, tributes to Ferguson have been led by Prime Minister David Cameron, who tweeted: "Sir Alex Ferguson's achievement at #MUFC has been exceptional."

Former Manchester United and England striker Michael Owen says the Scot's managerial record will "surely never be eclipsed".

  • Ferguson believes the squad he leaves behind "bodes well for continued success".
  • His final game will be against West Brom and will be his 1500th in charge at United.
  • United co-chairman Joel Glazer says: "His determination to succeed and dedication to the club have been truly remarkable."
  • Chief executive David Gill says: "What he has done for this club and for the game in general will never be forgotten."

Ferguson, who will undergo hip surgery in the summer, is confident his successor will take over a club in good health after winning their 20th top-flight title 17 days ago.

"It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so," he said.

"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."

Ferguson's Man Utd trophies

Sir Alex Ferguson

Premier League: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013.

FA Cup: 1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004

League Cup: 1992, 2006, 2009, 2010

Champions League: 1999, 2008

Cup Winners Cup: 1991

Fifa Club World Cup: 2008

Uefa Super Cup: 1992

Inter-Continental Cup: 1999

FA Charity/Community Shield: 1990 (shared), 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011

Ferguson praised the people he felt helped him build the club from a team that had not won a title for 26 years into one of the biggest in the world.

"I must pay tribute to my family, their love and support has been essential," he added. "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."

Ferguson is the most successful manager in the history of the British game and famously won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 1999.

Co-chairman Joel Glazer highlighted Ferguson's desire to produce winning teams throughout his time at United and called the 2008 Champions League victory over Chelsea in Moscow a "magical night".

He said: "Alex has proven time and time again what a fantastic manager he is, but he's also a wonderful person. His determination to succeed and dedication to the club have been truly remarkable.

"I will always cherish the wonderful memories he has given us, like that magical night in Moscow."

Fellow co-chairman Avie Glazer expressed how important the United board felt it was to ensure Ferguson continued working for the club despite his decision to step down as manager.

erguson's "rollercoaster of success"

"I am delighted to announce that Alex has agreed to stay with the club as a director," he said. "His contributions to Manchester United over the last 26 years have been extraordinary and, like all United fans, I want him to be a part of its future."

Gill, who is also stepping down this summer after 16 years at United, revealed Ferguson had been planning to make his succession easier by putting in place a young squad and a state-of-the-art training facility at Carrington.

He said: "I've had the tremendous pleasure of working very closely with Alex for 16 unforgettable years - through the treble, the double, countless trophy wins and numerous signings.

"We knew that his retirement would come one day and we both have been planning for it by ensuring the quality of the squad and club structures are in first-class condition.

"Alex's vision, energy and ability have built teams - both on and off the pitch - that his successor can count on as among the best and most loyal in world sport.

"The way he cares for this club, his staff and for the football family in general is something that I admire. It is a side to him that is often hidden from public view but it is something that I have been privileged to witness in the last 16 years.

"What he has done for this club and for the game in general will never be forgotten. It has been the greatest experience of my working life being alongside Alex and a great honour to be able to call him a friend."

Ferguson began his playing career at Queen's Park as a 16-year-old striker whilst working as an apprentice tool-worker at Clyde Shipyards.

Ferguson in numbers

1: Knighthood from the Queen in June 1999

2: Champions League titles against Bayern Munich in 1999 and Chelsea in 2008

5: Teams managed by Ferguson - East Stirling 1974, St Mirren 1975-78, Aberdeen 1978-1986, Scotland 1985-86, Man Utd 1986-2013

6: Clubs as a player - Queen's Park, St Johnstone, Dunfermline, Rangers, Falkirk, Ayr

9: Scottish and English FA Cup titles

17: Games missed due to touchline bans.

26: Years since United had won the title before Ferguson's triumph in 1993

38: Trophies won at Old Trafford

49: Trophies won as a manager with Manchester United, Aberdeen and St Mirren.

104: Players bought while at Manchester United. The last was Wilfried Zaha, signed from Crystal Palace for fee rising to £15m in January and loaned back to Palace.

170: Goals scored during his playing career

370: Appearances as a player

1498: Games at Manchester United, with 894 wins, 337 draws and 267 defeats

His most notable spell as a player came in a two-year stint at Glasgow Rangers from 1967. He retired as a player in 1974 when he was on Ayr United's books.

He began his managerial career as a 32-year-old at East Stirlingshire before moving to St Mirren, where he won his first trophy by taking the Scottish first division title in 1977.

Ferguson's talent at building winning teams became apparent after he took over at unfashionable Aberdeen and turned them into a major force in a league where Rangers and Celtic had dominated.

His crowning moment was winning the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983 by beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the final

He also won three Scottish titles, four Scottish FA Cups and one League Cup during his time at Pittodrie and that success saw him land the United job, taking over from Ron Atkinson on 6 November 1986.

Ferguson had managed Scotland in the World Cup in Mexico earlier that year following the death of Jock Stein although he was unable to take his country past the group stages.

Current Blackpool manager Paul Ince won two league titles, two FA Cups, a European Cup Winners' Cup medal and a League Cup during his time playing for Ferguson at United.

He told Sky Sports News: "I'm totally shocked. What he's done is unbelievable. You'll never see anyone of his kind again.

"Two weeks ago he was talking about staying on for another two years, so it's a massive, massive shock.

"The man was immense and he got the best out of me that's for sure. The way he treated me was like a son."

Ferguson told his players he was stepping down before training today as they prepare for Sunday's match against Swansea. It will be the Scot's final home game as manager of the Premier League champions.

First-team coach Rene Meulensteen said: "He told us just this morning. He called us in his office and told us the decision he had taken. I think he is feeling a sense of relief in some ways now."

Owen feels taking over from Ferguson is going to be a difficult job.


Sir Alex Ferguson: 10 things not everybody knows

Various shots of Alex Ferguson

Ten slightly lesser-known facts about Sir Alex Ferguson, who has announced his resignation as Man Utd's manager after 26 years.

1. Once ran a pub. Ferguson has worked outside football, starting out as an apprentice toolmaker and shop steward in Glasgow and much later running a pub that he renamed Fergie's with a downstairs bar named the Elbow Room in memory of his physical style as a player.

2. Intrigued by JFK. Gordon Brown sent him numerous CDs about the assassination of JFK. Ferguson bonded with Brown over a shared interest in US politics. "Gordon sent me 35 CDs on it, which was brilliant of him," he told Manchester radio station Key 103 in 2007. Ferguson is fascinated with JFK. He said he kept JFK's autopsy report by his bed. He also has a copy of the Warren Report signed by [the former US president] Gerald Ford.

Kenny Dalglish and Alex Ferguson

3. Gave the young Kenny Dalglish lifts. When Ferguson was at Rangers he gave lifts to a young Kenny Dalglish who was hoping to be signed. "Fergie used to give us a lift into town. He had such a big car," Dalglish told the Guardian. When Dalglish was picked up by city rivals Celtic he was forced to play centre back and mark Ferguson in a reserve team game.

4. Told Alastair Campbell to get a masseur for Tony Blair. Ferguson was a big Labour donor and advised Tony Blair on leadership. The idea of getting a masseur for the election "battle bus" may have been a step too far, he later admitted. Better advice was when he said: "So long as you can keep all your key people in the same room at the same time, you'll be fine."

Alex Ferguson and Alistair Campbell  
Ferguson with Tony Blair's spokesman Alistair Campbell in 2007

5. Not the longest serving manager. Ferguson was manager of Manchester United for 26-and-a-half years. The longest serving league manager in Europe was Guy Roux, who occupied the hotseat at French team Auxerre for 44 years, finally stepping down in 2005. Ferguson isn't even the longest serving Scottish manager. Willie Maley was Celtic manager from 1897-1940, clocking up 43 years.

6. Used to jump over walls as a boy. He grew up in a poor area of Glasgow where there wasn't much to do apart from play football, fight and jump over walls, known as dykes. "The dangerous ones had names - the king, the queen, the suicide, the diamond, the spiky," Ferguson once said. "You'd go to different areas of Govan to challenge each other into jumping dykes because it was very dangerous. But you do that when you're a kid because you've got no fear."

Sir Alex Ferguson  
Anger management: Ferguson's temper is legendary

7. "Fergie time" is 79 seconds. "Fergie time" is the widely held belief by supporters of other team, that if Man Utd are losing after 90 minutes, the referee will extend injury time long enough for them to equalise or win. Last year, the BBC analysed Fergie time. It found that Man Utd were not unique in being given extra injury time when they were losing, although it appeared they got more than other teams. Games went on 79 seconds longer when Manchester United were losing than winning. Man Utd's towering achievement - securing the treble with victory in the 1999 European Champions League - was achieved in Fergie time, when they reversed a Bayern Munich lead, by scoring two goals after the 90th minute.

Sir Alex Ferguson and the Man Utd mascot
Call me Sir

8. Alex or Alec? Many people in football refer to him as Sir Alec, assuming that his Scottish background will mean his name is pronounced in that way. But Scotland is strangely split on the Alex/Alec question, with people slipping between the two, often without noticing. BBC Sportsound presenter Richard Gordon said he had found himself using both forms. He said that former Ferguson colleague Willie Miller often calls him Alec when talking on the radio and ex-Scotland manager Craig Brown is prone to using the informal Alec, quickly followed by the more respectable Sir Alex. Carole Hough, professor of onomastics, says she can think of no particular reason why people would choose one or the other, except that Alec is slightly shorter. She said both names were popular in Scotland and England, with Alec perhaps having more currency north of the border.

Gum chewer extraordinaire

Ferguson chewing gum

Ferguson's habit of furious, grim-faced gum chewing, prompted the spoof news website Newsbiscuit to claim that "his gum chewing habits could power an area the size of Lincolnshire".

It's been estimated that Ferguson gets through about 10 sticks a match, which means that - over the course of his tenure at Man Utd - he's chewed enough sticks to stretch twice around the Old Trafford pitch.

9. The "hairdryer treatment" and "squeaky bum time". Ferguson was responsible for two memorable coinages. Players speak in awestruck tones of what it is like to be on the receiving end of Sir Alex's temper. The "hairdryer" - for its sound and heat - became the chosen phrase. Players talk of the moment a switch is flicked in Fergie's head, he presses his face close to the you and emits a terrifying torrent of abuse. Former United winger Lee Sharpe - famed for his extracurricular activities - has been credited with inventing the term. David Beckham said: "The fear of getting the hairdryer was the reason why we all played so well. He was a manager you wanted to do well for." Ferguson also put his finger on the agony of watching a tense sporting moment. It is thought he first used "squeaky bum time" in March 2003 as his Manchester United team clawed back the lead from rivals Arsenal in a tense finale. It has become part of the football argot, especially at the climax of a season. It first entered the Collins English dictionary in 2005 with the definition "the tense final stages of a league competition, especially from the point of view of the leaders". Wikipedia notes the act of "squirming or moving forward and back in one's seat while watching an exciting sporting event".

10. Home is called Fairfields. Ferguson lives in a mansion in Wilmslow, Cheshire. It is called Fairfields after the shipyard where his father worked.{jcomments on}

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