Alex Ferguson, arguably the most successful manager in English football, announced Wednesday that he would retire at the end of the season and join the Manchester United board.
Manchester United have already secured their 20th league title and Ferguson will manage the English club for one last time May 19 when they play West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. Ferguson has been at the helm of the English giants for the past 26 years and has 46 trophies, including 13 League titles and two Champions League titles, amongst others.
“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," Ferguson said in a statement. “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 longterm future of the club remains a bright one," he added.
“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."
Ferguson thanked the players, support staff and the fans for a memorable period.
“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.
“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.”
Joel Glazer, one of the club's owners, said: “Alex has proven time and time again what a fantastic manager he is but he’s also a wonderful person. His determination to succeed and dedication to the club have been truly remarkable. I will always cherish the wonderful memories he has given us, like that magical night in Moscow.
David Gill the outgoing chief exectutive, 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."
“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,” he added.