• Premier League

United confirm Ferguson retirement

ESPN staff
May 8, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Manchester United have confirmed Sir Alex Ferguson will retire at the end of the season.

Ferguson, 71, took charge of United in 1986 and enjoyed a trophy-laden 27 years at the club.

Sir Alex Ferguson: Career in Pictures

In a statement released to the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning, United said: "Sir Alex Ferguson will retire at the end of the season, Manchester United announced today. The most successful manager in English football history will bow out after the West Bromwich Albion game on 19 May and join the football club board."

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The rumours about Ferguson's future gained momentum on Tuesday, with a United players versus coaches golf day reportedly overshadowed by speculation the Scot was to announce his retirement ahead of Sunday's clash with Swansea.

The club failed to respond to requests to confirm or deny the reports about Ferguson's future on Tuesday evening, but on Wednesday morning it was confirmed that he would be retiring after leading the club to their 20th league title.

"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly," Ferguson told the club's official website. "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."

Ferguson's honour roll

  • Premier League: 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, '12-13
    FA Cup: '89-90, '93-94, '95-96, '98-99, '03-04
    League Cup: 1991-92, 2005-06, '08-09, '09-10
    FA Charity/Community Shield: 1990 (shared), 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
    UEFA Champions League: 1998-99, 2007-08
    UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1990-91
    UEFA Super Cup: 1991
    Intercontinental Cup: 1999
    FIFA Club World Cup: 2008

Ferguson will remain connected to the club as a director and ambassador.

He said: "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.

"In my early years, the backing of the board, and Sir Bobby Charlton in particular, gave me the confidence and time to build a football club, rather than just a football team.

"Over the past decade, the Glazer family have provided me with the platform to manage Manchester United to the best of my ability and I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with a talented and trustworthy chief executive in David Gill. I am truly grateful to all of them.

"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."

David Gill, who is leaving his role as chief executive at the club, said: "I've had the tremendous pleasure of working very closely with Alex for 16 unforgettable years - through the Treble, the Double, countless trophy wins and numerous signings.

"We knew that his retirement would come one day and we both have been planning for it by ensuring the quality of the squad and club structures are in first class condition.

"Alex's vision, energy and ability have built teams - both on and off the pitch - that his successor can count on as among the best and most loyal in world sport.

"The way he cares for this club, his staff and for the football family in general is something that I admire. It is a side to him that is often hidden from public view but it is something that I have been privileged to witness in the last 16 years.

"What he has done for this club and for the game in general will never be forgotten. It has been the greatest experience of my working life being alongside Alex and a great honour to be able to call him a friend."

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