This morning, Manchester United announced that their manager of 26 years, Sir Alex Ferguson, 71, will retire at the end of the 2012/13 season.
Manchester Utd will collect their thirteenth league title under Sir Alex at the end of the football season. The retirement will see the club’s first change in manager since 1986, the year Ferguson joined from his previous roles as manager of Aberdeen and Scotland.
During the announcement of his decision to retire, Ferguson said:
“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.”
The Barclays Premier League away match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion will be Ferguson’s last competitive game in charge of Manchester United.
The announcement is sure to trigger speculation on who will take over at Manchester United. The timing of the announcement may add fuel to speculation that Jose Mourinho, currently of Real Madrid – who is known to be looking at English options – may be the next man to take the helm at the world’s biggest football club.
Ferguson’s retirement does not spell the end of his time at Manchester United, however, as Sir Alex will take on roles as director and ambassador at the club.
Ferguson’s decision brings a close to a long and decorated managerial career – his cabinet contains the following medals:
- 13 Premier League Winner
- 5 FA Cup Winner
- 4 League Cup Winner
- 10 Charity / Community Shield Winner
- 2 UEFA Champions League Winner
- 1 UEFA Cup Winners Cup Winner
- 1 UEFA Super Cup Winner
- 1 Intercontinental Cup Winner
- 1 FIFA Club World Cup Winner