Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Sir Alex Calls United Time


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's David Moyes and Jose Mourinho, currently at Real Madrid, are the bookmakers' frontrunners to take over.

Ferguson believes he is leaving United in good shape, saying: "The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, 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 hails Ferguson's dedication to United, saying: "His determination to succeed and dedication to the club have been truly remarkable."

Chief executive David Gill believes the Scot can be proud of his legacy. He said: "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 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 a treble in 1999.

Co-chairman Joel Glazer highlighted Ferguson's desire to continue to produce winning teams throughout his time at United.

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 [when United won the Champions League]."

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.

Ferguson's Man Utd trophies
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

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