May 8, 2013: the day Manchester United fans had dreaded for nearly three decades. Sir Alex Ferguson announced he was to step down as manager of the world's biggest football club after 27 years in charge.
The Scot, affectionately knows as 'Fergie' to United's vast army of fans worldwide, signed off in style with an honours list that confirmed him as the most successful manager in British - and world - football.
At the age of 71, he would leave United having won 38 trophies - an amazing haul that included 13 league titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups. Fergie would now become a director and ambassador for the club he had rebuilt from top to bottom and turned into the greatest in the world during his colourful, wonder-filled reign.
That he would still be around - to offer help and advice if needed to incoming new boss David Moyes - helped slightly cushion the blow of his departure for United fans.
Fergie had left Moyes a wonderful platform from which to build: a talented young squad that had just brought the club its record-breaking 20th top-flight title and a stadium and training facilities second to none. The story of Sir Alex Ferguson is a true rags-to-riches fairytale.
Born in Govan, Glasgow, in 1941, he played for Queen's Park, Dunfermline and Rangers before retiring in 1974 to begin his managerial career.
At Aberdeen, he led a struggling side to the Scottish League championship and in 1983 European Cup Winners' Cup.
But it would be at Manchester United that Sir Alex achieved world domination.
Joining the club in November 1986, things didn't go exactly to plan in Sir Alex's first few years at United, but signing Eric Cantona for a bargain GBP1.2 million in 1992 helped turn the tide and secure their first League trophy in 26 years. An incredible run of success followed, shaped by the emergence of 'Fergie's Fledglings' - Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Nicky Butt. And Fergie's finest moment was still to come, when Manchester United romped to an unprecedented Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League trophies in 1999.
He was knighted the same year for his services to football.
Under Sir Alex, United have surpassed arch-rivals Liverpool's league title haul, and have reached four Champions League finals, wining the trophy on two occasions.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 304 pages
- Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd
- Publication Date: 24/06/2013
- Category: Biography: sport
- ISBN: 9781782197300
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- Paperback from £6.15
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