Sir Alex Ferguson has today announced that he will be retiring after 26 years as manager at Manchester United.
To put his success into perspective you have to look back 26 years to 1986 when Ferguson took over. Margret Thatcher was still Prime Minister, “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin was number 1 in the UK charts and Roy Walker’s Catchphrase had just begun on TV.
His success at the club goes without saying. 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 10 Community Shields and 2 Champions Leagues amongst others.
To put his success into context again, you just have to look at the number of managers other clubs have had since 1986:
• Madrid – 24
• Inter – 19
• Chelsea – 18
• Bayern – 14
• Manchester City – 14
• Milan – 13
Again, it just has to be looked at the current United squad to look at how many players have been born since Ferguson took over in 1986. David de Gea, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Alexander Büttner, Rafael, Anderson, Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, enough for a full team.
He is also the longest serving manager in the country, 10 years ahead of his nearest rival, Arsene Wenger. The only other man to serve longer than a decade in his current job is David Moyes, the man who is set to replace Sir Alex at Old Trafford.
Ferguson will be remember for his ability to bring out the best in his players, whilst winning trophies and bringing through a new generation of players, as he continued to do throughout his reign.
Late goals, which have been a characteristic of Fergie’s reign, show the belief he installs in his players. ‘Fergie time’ as it is now known shows that Fergie installs a ‘never say die attitude’ amongst his team and all around the club.
Perhaps his finest night as manager of Manchester United was the 26th May 1999, the night Ferguson won his first Champions League. His team showed their spirit scoring twice in stoppage time through Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 to complete a dramatic treble.
So what now for Manchester United?
The day was always going to come.
Sir Alex Ferguson leaves Manchester United in good shape, having just won their record 20th title.
He has not just built a team in his time at Old Trafford, he has built a club that has the structure to move on without himself.
Under David Moyes, they might not have a manager experienced right at the top level of the game but they have a manager who can provide continuity to the club and stability at a time when they will need it most.
One thing for sure, Manchester United will not just go away without Ferguson. They will continue to compete at the top level for many years to come.
Another thing for sure is that no one will ever come close to achieving the success that Sir Alex Ferguson has at Old Trafford. 26 years of almost constant success at the club will never be matched by another manager again.
The Premier League will not be the same without Ferguson, the greatest manager of all time.