Sunday 6 November 2011

Sir Alex Ferguson's 25 years at Manchester United

Sir Alex's fairytale

Sir Alex admits his 25 glorious years in charge of United have been something of a "fairytale".

The boss celebrates the remarkable landmark on Sunday after being appointed in 1986 and is vowing to continue in the job for as long as his health allows him.

"It's been a really fantastic spell for me and something you don't think is going to happen," he stated. "It's been a bit of a fairytale to last so long and I appreciate that.

"I've been very fortunate to have some of the best players in the game and, when I look back on these players I think about how fortunate I am. It's incredible when you look at who's been here - Bryan Robson, Norman Whiteside, Brian McClair, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince, Roy Keane, Eric Cantona. What a collection of fantastic players.

"It's hard to think I actually controlled all these players for so long. Today, we have so many players with different personalities from different cultures."

Even though the manager has overseen many changes to the game, he is still very much up for the challenge of keeping United competitive on all fronts.

"I'll continue as long as I feel healthy enough to do it," he insisted. "In management, things change as the years go on. It's different now even to seven or eight years ago. A lot of things have changed."

Stand renamed for Sir Alex

Sir Alex Ferguson has received a very special 25th anniversary tribute from his grateful employers at Manchester United - with Old Trafford's biggest stand being renamed in his honour.

The North Stand is now known as the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, after a new sign was unveiled just before kick-off against Sunderland. It's the first time in the 101-year history of Old Trafford that a stand has been named after an individual. In addition, the renowned sculptor Philip Jackson has been commissioned to create a statue of the manager. This will be erected outside the stand's entrance, hopefully in August 2012.

In a club statement, United chief executive David Gill said: "To be at a club of our standing for so long is truly remarkable. In that time, Sir Alex has established himself as the most successful manager in British football history, winning countless trophies and creating numerous sides admired around the world for their flair and ability.

"Sir Alex's contribution to United has been immense and the magnificent stadium we have here at Old Trafford is a testament to his ability and success. The Board felt it right to take this unique step, as well as to commission Philip Jackson to create a statue to go alongside his other great pieces here of Sir Matt and the United Trinity. These tributes are made with the grateful thanks of the owners, board, staff, players and fans of Manchester United, for the great pleasure Sir Alex has brought us all over a quarter of a century."

Sir Alex saw his name on the former North Stand for the first time after walking through a guard of honour formed by both teams. Talking on the stadium PA system, he remarked how proud he felt to "work for the greatest football club in the world" and to have managed "some of the greatest footballers we've ever seen in this country."

Ferguson's trophy cabinet: All the major cups won in 25 glorious years

Sir Alex Ferguson has been known to win more trophies in one season than most managers might during their whole careers. After 25 years at Manchester United, Fergie has become the most successful manager in British football history. Here is his full roll of honour at Old Trafford.

Record breaker: Sir Alex Ferguson has won the Premier League 13 times

Premier League (13): 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13

FA Cup (5): 1989-90, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1998-99, 2003-04 

League Cup (4): 1991-92, 2005-06, 2008-09, 2009-10

FA Charity/Community Shield (10): 1990 (shared), 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011

Champions League (2): 1998-99, 2007-08

Cup Winners' Cup (1): 1990-91

UEFA Super Cup (1): 1991

Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999

FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2008

* Sir Alex Ferguson retires

The man who made United a big force
Ferguson quits club after 26 years as British football's most successful boss
Associated Press, 9 May 2013

LONDON - When Alex Ferguson took over at Old Trafford on Nov 6, 1986, Manchester United were next to last in England's old first division and in need of a major shake-up.

His great ambition was to unseat local rivals Liverpool as the country's top team and re-establish United as a force in Europe. It was a task many thought beyond him and the club.

Twenty-six seasons and 38 trophies later, he leaves as British football's most successful manager and with United as the world's second-richest club, with an estimated worth of US$3.17 billion (S$3.89 billion).

What a journey it has been.

Jose Mourinho calls him "The Boss". United great Bobby Charlton regularly labels him a "genius". His impact has transcended sport - he is one of Britain's most famous personalities. To many, he is the greatest manager ever.

Who else could have harnessed the talents - and temperaments - of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo?

Who else could rule with such an iron fist, yet be such a good man-manager that even Beckham, after his acrimonious departure to Real Madrid in 2003, still sees him as a father figure?

And, in an era of unprecedented numbers of managerial departures and coaching upheaval, who else could hang around - and flourish - so long at the top? And at the same club, too.

When Ferguson replaced the fired Ron Atkinson as United manager, the Champions League was still called the European Cup. The Premier League was called the First Division. Margaret Thatcher was British prime minister.

Few could have guessed how Ferguson would rip up the landscape, not just of British football but also the game worldwide. Old Trafford has changed too - a statue of the man, arms crossed and with that determined look on his face, stands proudly outside the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand.

A son of a ship-builder from Govan in Scotland and a top player in his native country from 1957-74, Ferguson began his managerial career with East Stirlingshire in 1974, moved to St Mirren later that year and was hired by Aberdeen in 1978.

Ferguson led Aberdeen to the 1980 Scottish league title, their first since 1955. United sat up and took notice when his squad - tiny by European standards - beat Bayern Munich and Real Madrid on the way to capturing the 1983 European Cup Winners' Cup. He brought an end to the domination by Celtic and Rangers of Scottish football, a major feat in itself.

Ferguson arrived at Old Trafford - fresh from managing Scotland at the 1986 World Cup after the sudden death of Jock Stein - unhappy with the fitness levels of the club's players, some of whom were reportedly big drinkers.

He got rid of several senior players and overhauled a youth system that would eventually produce all-time United greats such as Giggs, Beckham and Paul Scholes.

The first trophy came in 1990 after an FA Cup final replay against Crystal Palace. It bought Ferguson time to continue the rebuilding job. United beat Barcelona in the European Cup Winners' Cup final the following season, and then came the signing that would really spark United's surge into the big time.

Cantona became a talismanic player and an instant fans' favourite and, in 1993, United won their first league title since 1967.

Two weeks ago, Ferguson won his 13th Premier League title.

He also won five FA Cups, four League Cups and lifted the Charity/Community Shield 10 times.

In between, he won the Champions League twice, in 1999 and 2008. No one will ever forget the way United sealed a historic treble in 1999 by beating Bayern in the Champions League final with late goals by Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

What makes Ferguson stand out is his ability to keep reproducing winning teams. For him, there was never a "transitional period".

Tactically, he was flexible and dropped big-name players if he felt the situation demanded it. Beckham, van Nistelrooy and Roy Keane have all learnt the lesson the hard way - do not cross Ferguson or you will be out the door.

British football is unlikely to see another manager like Ferguson again.



On Fergie's birthday, 71 examples of his wit, wisdom and temper from over a quarter-century at Old Trafford
Sir Alex Ferguson to retire at end of season
Manchester United: The day Sir Alex Ferguson resigned
Sir Alex Ferguson retires: Reaction to Man Utd announcement
Ferguson thanks his wife as he steps down from Manchester United helm after 27 years
Fergie's retirement goes global as media from New York to Beijing pay tribute
David Moyes appointed Manchester United boss
Fergie in photos: United boss' best managerial memories
The highs and lows of Alex Ferguson’s amazing career in football
Silverware galore for retiring Fergie
Four decades of FERGIE TIME: Sportsmail looks back over retiring boss' remarkable 27 years as Manchester United manager

Thank You Sir Alex
Good knight from me
Manchester United 2 Swansea 1: Fergie celebrates final Old Trafford win before urging fans to back Moyes
A right, loyal send-off on an emotional day as Old Trafford family bids farewell to Ferguson
The end of Fergie's time! United's legendary boss chokes up as he addresses Old Trafford after final home victory of reign... and he calls on Red Devils fans to back incoming Moyes all the way
Scholes happy to avoid limelight after hanging up his boots for a second time
Sir Alex Ferguson's farewell speech to Old Trafford in full
Sir Alex Ferguson: Man Utd lift Premier League trophy
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson's Old Trafford farewell
Sir Alex Ferguson: Final farewell was a party 26 years in the making


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