After 27 years, 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies, the most successful manager in the history of English football, despite being from Scotland, is retiring. The rumors have been whirling around Manchester United and Alex Ferguson for the last 12 hours, and the manager could no longer avoid the questions and the doubts, confirming this season will be his last at the helm of the club he turned into the most successful in England and one of the strongest in Europe.
The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. 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.
Ferguson wrote in the programme for the Manchester United – Chelsea match this last weekend that he has no intention of stepping down, but the news of his hip surgery that should follow the end of the season hasn’t really helped calm the storm. United being a traded company on the NYSE cannot withhold information such as the manager about to step down, and probably Ferguson got an order (if anyone dares order him around) that he needs to open his mouth and say something.
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.
It’s a little soon to talk of succession, but David Moyes seems like the first name in line. He’s been talked and targeted for a number of years, and the end of his contract this summer is another sign of things to come. Ferguson leaves a healthy team, financially and professionally although he’ll always regret now being more successful in Europe, losing in two of the four Champions League finals he has reached with his team. Even without those two, the most successful manager in the history of European football stepped down, to the joy of some, and the sadness of others.