Sir Alex Ferguson RETIRES after 27 years at Manchester United

Well, whoever takes over will certainly have some really big shoes to fill! Wishing him a fun filled retirement.

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has announced that he will retire from the club after 27 years in charge at the end of the season.

The 71-year-old clinched his 13th Premier League title with the club last month, but rumours have suggested that Sunday’s game against Swansea, when the club are presented with their trophy, could be his last hurrah.

The club have so far refused to confirm or deny the rumours, but are expected to make a statement today.

As the club is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, any significant information which affects the running of the club must be released.

Speculation: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson could step down after 26 years in charge of the club and 13 Premier League title winsSpeculation: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson could step down after 26 years in charge of the club and 13 Premier League title wins

 

Cheerful: Ferguson in the Ibrox directors' box at the Rangers v Man United legends match this weekCheerful: Ferguson in the Ibrox directors’ box at the Rangers v Man United legends match this week (above and below right), and popping a cork in celebration after clinching yet another Premier league crown last month

 

Fergie pops a cork
Sir Alex Ferguson
 Sir Alex had vowed to carry on ‘indefinitely’ in programme notes written before Sunday’s defeat against Chelsea.

But already speculation is mounting as to who could replace the most successful manager in British football history.

Talks are underway to find a replacement and Everton manager David Moyes is among the frontrunners.

It had been rumoured that Moyes would initially join the club as understudy to Ferguson for a season before taking over the reigns full time.

But talks of that set up being in place at the club in time for next season now look to have been premature.

Moyes remains the favourite to take over with bookmakers offering odds of 4/6 this morning.

Hairdryer treatment: David Beckham felt the wrath of Sir Alex back in February 2003 when he was hit on the head by a stray boot kicked by the fiery ScotsmanHairdryer treatment: David Beckham felt the wrath of Sir Alex back in February 2003 when he was hit on the head by a stray boot kicked by the fiery Scotsman

Other big names thought to be in the running include Real Madrid manager and former Chelsea favourite Jose Mourinho, who is tipped at 6/5 by bookmakers to get the job.

The self-proclaimed ‘special one’ has been widely tipped to join Chelsea, but could be set to rethink those plans.

He is likely to be available at the end of the seaon.

Long-serving Manchester United star Ryan Giggs has also been linked with the role as well as Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp.

FERGIE’S FABULOUS 49

Sir Alex Ferguson has won 49 trophies in the most successful managerial career Britain has ever known.

ST MIRREN
Scottish First Division (1): 1976-77.

ABERDEEN
Scottish Premier Division (3): 1979-80, 1983-84, 1984-85.

Scottish Cup (4): 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1985-86.

Scottish League Cup (1): 1985-86.

European Cup Winners’ Cup (1): 1982-83.

European Super Cup (1): 1983.

MANCHESTER UNITED
Premier League (13): 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13.

FA Cup (5): 1989-90, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1998-99, 2003-04.

League Cup (4): 1991-92, 2005-06, 2008-09, 2009-10.

Charity/Community Shield (10): 1990 (shared), 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011.

Champions League (2): 1998-99, 2007-08.

European Cup Winners’ Cup (1): 1990-91.

European Super Cup (1): 1991.

Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999.

FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2008.

With United now forced to adhere to the strict rules and regulations of the New York Stock Exchange – which opens at 2.30pm UK time – over the release of significant information relating to the running of the club, any change of management would fall within those requirements.

Last night officials at Old Trafford were not even taking calls from journalists amid a frenzy of speculation over their manager’s future.

Ferguson is expected at Chester Races today for a planned day out with some of United’s players.

Rumours began to circulate on Tuesday among United’s players and coaching staff, who were involved in a golf match at Dunham Forest in Cheshire.

It is believed they were told to expect an announcement on Ferguson’s future, while MUTV, the club’s in-house TV station, are also primed to broadcast a major development on Sunday.

The Scotsman has become famed throughout his career for his infamous ‘hairdryer treatment’ dished out to players and his fiery temperament.

One of the most infamous examples of star players feeling Ferguson’s wrath came in February 2003 when the manager kick a boot in the changing room which hit David Beckham on the forehead.

Beckham wore the wounds from the incident in a very public fallout and left the club months later.

Moyes was at Goodison Park on Tuesday night to watch Everton defeat Newcastle in the Under 21s Premier League.

The 50-year-old Scot is out of contract this summer but has refused to discuss his future publicly, insisting only that he would weigh up his options at the end of the season.

United’s final match of the season, at West Bromwich Albion on May 19, will be the 1,500th of Ferguson’s tenure as manager.

Having always cited his health as the primary factor in any decision to retire, the club’s confirmation last Friday evening that Ferguson, who had a heart pacemaker fitted in 2004, would undergo hip surgery in August raised fresh doubt over his determination to continue in the post.

The developments came on the back of fevered and persistent betting this week that British football’s most successful manager may be ready to step aside.

There were suggestions that Moyes would join United as Ferguson’s No 2 for a season before taking charge, while the odds were slashed on Jose Mourinho leaving Real Madrid for Old Trafford.

‘FOOTBALL…BLOODY HELL!’ MEMORABLE SIR ALEX FERGUSON QUOTES

‘I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. Football. Bloody hell.’
After winning the Champions League final against Bayern Munich on May 26, 1999.

‘It’s getting tickly now – squeaky-bum time, I call it.’
During the 2002/03 end-of-season title race between Arsenal and United.
Sealed with a kiss: Sir Alex Ferguson toasts Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League success

‘They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages. I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!’ – On Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, 1996.

‘He could start a row in an empty house.’ – On Dennis Wise.

‘He was certainly full of it, calling me “Boss” and “Big Man” when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper.’ – On Jose Mourinho.

Pain game: Ferguson infamously split David Beckham’s head by kicking a boot at him in the dressing room

‘It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn’t happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!’
Explaining how he kicked a boot in the United dressing room that hit David Beckham in the face.

‘When an Italian tells me it’s pasta on the plate, I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen.’
Before playing Inter Milan in the Champions League quarter-final, 1999.

‘My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their ******* perch. And you can print that.’
On Alan Hansen questioning his future in 2002.

Replacement? David Moyes is among the frontrunners to succeed Ferguson - and should they work together, here's how the pair would look in our mocked-up imageReplacement? David Moyes is among the frontrunners to succeed Ferguson – and should they work together, here’s how the pair would look in our mocked-up image

That's handy: Moyes is odds on to replace Ferguson at Manchester United That’s handy: Everton boss Moyes is leading the betting to replace Ferguson at Old Trafford

Many people inside football — including two Premier League managers — have suggested privately this season that Ferguson would have stepped aside had United not lost last season’s Premier League title race to Manchester City on the last kick of the campaign. That has never been confirmed by United but it is thought Ferguson broke the news to his wife, Cath, that he had to shelve plans to retire within hours of City snatching the title.

There were also suggestions that Ferguson’s brother Martin may be standing aside from his scouting duties. Of similar significance was the decision by David Gill — Ferguson’s closest ally — to step down as chief executive at the end of this season. But it has emerged United were preparing to make a more seismic announcement.

At the weekend, Ferguson suggested in his programme notes he would be around at Old Trafford next season.

Conquering Europe: Fergie lifts the Champions League trophy in Moscow in 2008Conquering Europe: Fergie lifts the Champions League trophy in Moscow in 2008

 

Double top: Fergie, holding a Lifetime Achievement Award, with David Beckham, the winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in 2001Double top: Fergie, holding a BBC Lifetime Achievement Award, with David Beckham at SPOTY in 2001

Sir Alex Ferguson with the title in 2008
Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011
 Unlucky for some: Ferguson has got his hands on a the Premier League trophy a remarkable 13 times in all

 

Sir Alex Ferguson

‘I don’t have any plans at the moment to walk away from what I believe will be something special and worth being around to see,’ he said.

‘It’s always difficult in football to be absolutely sure of the future because the game has a habit of tripping you up, but I don’t live in a fantasy world and believe we have every reason to feel confident about the future of Manchester United. My view stems not from the euphoria of winning back the title we lost last season, but on the way we did it and the make-up of our playing personnel.’

Fergie’s five finest signings

 

Peter SchmeichelTop of the stoppers: Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel (signed from Brondby, 1991)

Widely regarded as the greatest goalkeeper in Premier League history, the Dane’s heroic efforts provided clean sheets aplenty and the security at the back which was so key to United’s success throughout the 1990s. Schmeichel, recruited for around £500,000, knew how to intimidate opposition strikers by making optimum use of his frame and at times appeared just as fearful for his defenders, who would frequently receive a rollicking from him. Capped eight glorious years with the club by skippering United – in the absence of the suspended Roy Keane – in the 1999 Champions League final as Ferguson’s men secured the treble.

Eric Cantona (signed from Leeds, 1992)

Cantona’s five-year spell at United will never be forgotten. The Frenchman, who cost Ferguson just over £1million, gave the club’s fans many a moment to savour on the pitch with his dazzling skills, which helped the Red Devils to a haul of four Premier League titles and two FA Cups. But what perhaps cemented his iconic status was the way he played the part of the tortured genius. The most infamous instance of his short temper was the kung-fu kick he aimed at a Crystal Palace supporter and he made philosophical comments afterwards about seagulls following a trawler. It was somewhat appropriate that he exited early leaving the crowd wanting more, retiring aged 30 in 1997.

Roy KeaneDriving force: Roy Keane

Roy Keane (signed from Nottingham Forest, 1993)

The £3.75million Ferguson paid Forest for Keane was a British transfer record at the time, but there is little question that he got value for money. In 12 years of service, the Irish midfielder was United’s engine room and driving force as they dominated English football through the 1990s and into the next decade. He also led them to the 1999 Champions League final, only to miss the game through suspension. Keane succeeded Cantona as captain and was just as combustible a character, if not more so. But it was that edge on the field that so endeared him to United fans and made him the player everyone else wanted in their team.

Cristiano Ronaldo (signed from Sporting Lisbon, 2003)

Megastar: Cristiano RonaldoMegastar: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ferguson signed a teenage Ronaldo for £12.24million and it looked as if he may have paid over the odds for little more than a showboater in the early days of the Portuguese forward’s United career. He soon showed his game was not just about stepovers, though, developing into one of the world’s most potent players. Ronaldo scored an incredible total of 42 goals for the club in the 2007-08 season as the Red Devils won the Champions League. Although his exit to Real Madrid a year later was a blow, the world record £80million fee he commanded softened it considerably.

Edwin van der Sar (signed from Fulham, 2005)

Van der Sar was 34 when he arrived at Old Trafford for an undisclosed fee, but the Dutch goalkeeper was in no way a fading force. It soon became apparent that Ferguson had finally found the solution in a position which had been a problem for United since Schmeichel’s departure, as Van der Sar’s reliable hands helped the team achieve a new period of success. He broke a multitude of records with his clean sheets in the 2008-09 season and finally retired from football in 2011, having won four Premier League titles and the Champions League with the Red Devils.

Culled from http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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