Wednesday, 8 May 2013

REVEALED: How Fergie choked up in the canteen as he told his stunned stars (and the tea ladies) his 27-year reign was over

A choked up Sir Alex Ferguson announced he was retiring in front of his Manchester United players during emotional scenes in the first-team changing room at the club's Carrington training centre this morning.
The 71-year-old arrived at the club as normal at 6.50am, before hastily arranging three separate meetings with his first-team squad, his technical and coaching staff, and finally the rest of the staff at Carrington.

Shortly after the players arrived, he gathered the team together in the changing rooms and, in a short but heartfelt speech, announced he was to step down at the end of the season after landing his 13th Premier League trophy.

He told the players that he was sorry he had to break the news to them now and that he had been hoping to delay the announcement and do it under his own steam.

He then took his technical and coaching staff into a briefing room and spoke to them, before finally addressing all the rest of the staff in the canteen.

An emotional Ferguson told of how proud he was of the whole staff's dedication and the work they had put in during his 26-and-a-half years at the club. He also praised his wife Cathy for her dedication.

Some members of staff, particularly those who have been at United for 30 years, were in tears while Ferguson spoke and the manager himself was choked up.

He admitted there might be some changes at the club after his departure but did not address whether any staff at the training ground would be losing their jobs.
He was due to join the players at their racing day out in Chester, but did not travel on the team coach at lunchtime.
United have already chosen the great Scot's replacement, and it is understood that David Moyes is set to be unveiled and the link with Jose Mourinho has been dismissed despite the Portuguese's talks with Chelsea stalling.
Announcing the news, in a statement on the club's website at around 10am today, Ferguson said: '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 organization 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.

'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.'

Now, for the first time in over a quarter of a century, United are on the hunt for a new manager.
Ferguson cradles the FA Cup in 1990. He would get his hands on many more trophies.

Bad start: Ferguson watches his first United game, a defeat by Oxford in 1986

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