Right time to retire, says Ferguson

2013-05-08 11:48

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London – Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson will retire at the end of the season after more than 26 years in charge, bringing to a close the most glittering managerial career in British soccer.

The Premier League champions confirmed on Wednesday that Ferguson (71) would step aside following United's home game against West Bromwich Albion on May 19.

"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," said Ferguson, who was in charge of 1 498 matches for the club. The announcement was made on United's website (www.manutd.com).

Everton manager David Moyes, a fellow Scot, and former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho are the favourites to succeed Ferguson.

United said Ferguson, who took over from Ron Atkinson in 1986 and has won 13 league titles, five FA Cups and two Champions Leagues, would remain at the club as a director.

"It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so," added Glasgow-born Ferguson who was going to retire after the 2001-02 season, but changed his mind.

"The quality of this league-winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level, while the structure of the youth setup will ensure that the long-term future of the club remains bright.

"Our training facilities are among 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."

When Ferguson began his Old Trafford reign, the club was languishing in the shadow of northwest rivals Liverpool, but, after a slow start, he won his first English title in 1992-93 and turned the club into the dominant force in England.

He also launched the careers of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes as well as attracting players of the calibre of Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney to Old Trafford.

"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," said Ferguson.

"Without their contribution, the history of this great club would not be as rich."

Ferguson, Britain's longest-serving manager, oversaw the club as it moved into American ownership under the Glazer family in 2005 – an unpopular move among the fans.

"Alex has proven time and time again what a fantastic manager he is, but he's also a wonderful person," said Joel Glazer, son of owner Malcolm, in the club statement.

"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," he added, referring to the 2008 Champions League final victory over Chelsea on penalties.

Ferguson had dropped no hints that he was thinking about retiring and, in programme notes ahead of last Sunday's game against Chelsea, appeared to suggest he would continue his reign as the club's most successful manager for the foreseeable future.

"Whether I will be here to oversee another decade of success remains to be seen, but I certainly 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 wrote.

Ferguson, who is due to have hip surgery after the season, will be an almost impossible act to follow and suitable candidates for arguably the biggest job in world soccer are thin on the ground.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.