Sir Alex Ferguson retires as manager of Manchester United
Sir Alex Ferguson will retire as manager of Manchester United at the end of the season, after 27 years and in charge of the club. During his tenure, the club won 13 domestic titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League trophies.
In a statement on the club’s website, 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 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,” he said.
Ferguson’s last match in charge of the club will be on May 19, the away league fixture against West Bromwich Albion.
After stepping down as manager, Ferguson (71) will become a club director and an ambassador for the club.
“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,” he said.
United is one of the most heavily-supported foreign clubs in Bulgaria, with informal polls over the years putting it ahead of English rivals Arsenal and Liverpool – a big part of this success is that English Premier League matches have been shown up by local cable providers for more than a decade (unlike Spanish Primera Division and Italian Serie A).
The club’s support in Bulgaria further increased when the country’s best player, striker Dimitar Berbatov, signed with United in 2008. Although used sparingly by the manager in the latter years – drawing much criticism of Ferguson from Bulgarian supporters – Berbatov played in 108 matches and scored 48 goals in his four years at the club.
The club’s popularity in Bulgaria has also led to a commercial partnership with Bulgaria’s second-largest carrier, Globul.
(Sir Alex Ferguson’s statue outside United’s Old Trafford stadium. Photo: morenoberti/flickr.com)