The legendary Scottish coach/manager shocked the football world this morning by announcing that he will be stepping down from his position as Manchester United Football Club manager at the end of the current season. Sir Alex is both the longest serving manager (EPL) and the most successful manager in English footballs history having won 24 titles in his 26 year tenure. He’s won 13 league titles, two European cups, five FA cups and a European cup-winners’ cup.
The Glasgow-born 71 year old will bow out and take on an ambassadorial role at the club after the last game of this season against West Brom on may 19; the 1,500 game of his career as a Man United manager. Announcing the news this morning through the club’s website, a statement by Ferguson read: ‘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.’
Soon after the announcement, football fans, players, ex-players and personalities poured on twitter/facebook to pay their tributes to the retiring Scott.
Peter Schmeichel, arguably the best ever Manchester United goalkeeper said; ‘Disappointed, shocked, sad. Didn’t think THAT day would be today.’ FIFA president Sepp Blatter noted: ‘Was honour to present Sir Alex with Award at 2011 Ballon D’Or. Will his longevity at the top ever be repeated?’
Former Arsenal captain and current Manchester City executive Patrick Vieira said: ‘It is the end of an era for a truly great ambassador, not only for the Premier League but for football overall. Best of luck to Sir Alex.’ Once of Man United and now Real Madrid’s forward, Cristiano Ronaldo took to twitter and said: ‘Thank you boss’. Richard Bevan, chief executive of the League Managers Association LMA added: ‘Sir Alex has left an indelible legacy not only at Manchester United but on the art of football management itself’.
Everyone associated with TAP wishes Sir Alex a healthy and happy retirement.