With the dignity and professionalism that epitomised his lifelong career in football be it both as a player and as a manager, Sir Alex Ferguson this morning announced his retirement from football aged 71 with the Scot’s final game being away at West Bromwich Albion on May 19th. Sir Alex Ferguson having just secured Manchester United’s 20th league title and the 13th in the Premier League era told his players this morning that he would be retiring at the end of the season, according to reports the United squad were filled with emotion as was their manager, a man who for the last twenty six years has dedicated himself to putting Manchester United above all.
Sir Alex then moved to inform the coaching staff and all the extra staff at Manchester United, right down to the members of the catering staff, this is testament to how involved Sir Alex was with Manchester United, how committed he was for the club to be successful but most of all professional in all aspects, the character of the man came through as he appeared most emotional when telling members of his coaching staff that he could not guarantee their jobs following his departure.
Sir Alex Ferguson has as he always said he would, left on his own terms, when he felt the time was right and with the balance of youth, talent and experience within the current Manchester United side he has deemed now to be the right time. His successor is still as yet unknown with the bookmakers holding Everton’s David Moyes and Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho as the two leading candidates ahead of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Carlo Ancelotti. Manchester United did also confirm today the new manager would be announced within forty eight hours.
Sir Alex’s time at Manchester United came off the back of a hugely successful spell in charge of Aberdeen winning three Scottish League titles and a
historic European Cup Winners Cup, an achievement he would repeat at Manchester United. What came next following a difficult opening spell was a twenty six year stewardship littered with success. Thirteen English titles, Five FA Cups, Two European Cups, Four League Cups, One European Cup Winners Cup, One European Super Cup, One Intercontinental Cup and finally One Club World Championship. A simply remarkable set of achievements but what was rather more impressive was the consistency with which success arrived under Sir Alex Ferguson, something which will be very very difficult to repeat, leaving Manchester United fans pondering what might happen in the future.
Several individuals and clubs from around the footballing universe have already paid tribute to the career of Sir Alex Ferguson with Chelsea Football Club’s official Twitter page stating “All at #CFC would like to wish Sir Alex Ferguson the very best in his retirement. He has been a fantastic adversary over 26 years.” Ruud van Nistelrooy stated “2001-2006, 219 games,150 goals under the most successful manager in football history. It was a unique privilege. #SAF ” There continues to be positive remarks from around the world directed at Sir Alex Ferguson.
What next for Manchester United is still a question many are afraid to attempt to answer with David Moyes or Jose Mourinho being the two early favourites to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson but first is the final game at Old Trafford under Sir Alex’s stewardship against Swansea where the club will be officially presented with the Premier League title. It seems rather a fitting way for Sir Alex to bow out, on top of English Football.