The day that the roughly 600 million Manchester United fans worldwide have dreaded, is finally here.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest British soccer manager of all-time, announced today that he will retire at the end of the season after 26 successful years at the helm of one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Ferguson took charge of United in November of 1986, and has gone on to win a staggering 38 trophies overall including 13 English league titles. Since he’s been in charge, 1,198 managers have been employed to football league clubs, his longevity is unmatched in the game and never will be duplicated.
The 71-year-old said that he thought long and hard about the decision and feels this is the right time to go.
“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.
“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 news of Ferguson’s impending retirement will devastate United fans (I’m living proof), simply because he took a club that heading in the wrong direction and provided perpetual success and stability for the past three decades. It wasn’t always smooth, but to have that combination of longevity and success is unheard of in professional sports, even those who hate him respect that.
The question now becomes who will be his replacement?