Earlier today, Manchester United announced that their most beloved manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, will retire from his duties as football manager at the end of this season.
Ferguson believes that he is leaving United in a good shape but whoever replaces him will have monumental shoes to fill in – be it David Moyes, Jose Mourinho or anyone else.
In his 26 years at the helm at Old Trafford, he won the Premier League 13 times and the Champions League twice. Ferguson wraps up his managerial career with 38 trophies since taking over United in November, 1986.
This news stirred a reaction from the football world with praise and awe coming from players, managers, pundits and others who are not even related to football.
Reactions to Alex Ferguson’s retirement
Michael Owen, who spent three years under Ferguson before moving to Stoke City, tweeted:
His record will surely never be eclipsed. Simply astonishing to read through his managerial record of achievements.
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) May 8, 2013
Manchester United’s chief executive, David Gill, is also thought to be leaving the club. He paid tribute to the legendary Scot by saying:
“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.
“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.”
Former England captain, Paul Ince, spoke about Ferguson’s achievements:
“You will never see anyone of his kind again.
“His standards were so high. He was so demanding. Yeah we had our ups and downs, he had a lot of ups and downs with most players, especially in that 92-93 season.
“The way he treated me was like a son. Two weeks ago he was talking about staying on for another two years, so it’s a massive, massive shock.”
Former Wales international, Clayton Blackmore, played for 12 years for Manchester United and for eight of those years, Ferguson was in charge. He said:
“I heard the rumours yesterday but I didn’t want to believe them.
“Twenty seven years trying to win every single game is real pressure.
“He will now have a bit of time to sit back and enjoy Old Trafford. It’s going to be so emotional at the weekend against Swansea saying goodbye to the manager.”
Chelsea were probably relieved that Ferguson will not be there to haunt their title chances from next season onwards but they also had nothing but praise and best wishes for the 71-year-old. A tweet from the Blues’ official account read:
All at #CFC would like to wish Sir Alex Ferguson the very best in his retirement. He has been a fantastic adversary over 26 years.
— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) May 8, 2013
Although Pat Crerand (commonly known as Paddy Crerand) had retired 15 years before Alex Ferguson joined Manchester United but Crerand had spent a majority of his career at United and even served as an assistant manager in mid-1970s. He said:
“I thought when Sir Alex signed Robin van Persie that he never buys players at the age of 29 and I thought maybe he bought him as he wants to go out with by winning the league.
“It entered my head but then I forgot about it as I thought he would want to win the European Cup.
“I’m just stunned. God help the poor fellow that’s going to have to follow him because the standard he has set is incredible.”
Arsenal also got in on the action and the club’s official Twitter account tweeted:
Everyone at Arsenal wishes Sir Alex Ferguson health and happiness following the announcement of his retirement as Manchester United manager
— Arsenal.com (@Arsenal) May 8, 2013
34-year-old Louis Saha is currently plying his trade at Lazio. He tweeted:
Wow S A Ferguson leaving. Hope is health ok. He is the most powerful man i ever met in my life after my dad. Huge respect for Football God.
— louis saha (@louissaha08) May 8, 2013
FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, reacted to Ferguson’s retirement:
“Just heard Sir Alex Ferguson is retiring at end of season. His achievements in the game place him without doubt as one of the ‘greats’.
“Was honour to present Sir Alex with award at 2011 Ballon D’Or. Will his longevity at the top ever be repeated?”
Vincent Kompany captains United’s fierce rivals Manchester City. He was gracious in his praise on Twitter:
Sir Alex, one of the best managers of all time. After 26 years of success in the game, we all owe him a tribute.
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) May 8, 2013
Legendary Denmark international shot-stopper, Peter Schmeichel, tweeted:
Disappointed, shocked, sad. Didn’t think THAT day would be today.
— Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) May 8, 2013
Joel Glazer, joint chairman of the Manchester United board, said in a statement:
“I will always cherish the wonderful memories he has given us, like that magical night in Moscow.”
His brother and the other joint chairman, Avie Glazer, announced that Alex Ferguson will not be altogether abandoning the club – which is a good news for most Red Devil fans:
“I am delighted to announce that Alex has agreed to stay with the club as a director.
“His contributions to Manchester United over the last 26 years have been extraordinary and, like all United fans, I want him to be a part of its future.”
Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond hailed the United manager by saying:
“He’s had a fantastic career.
“I’m pleased he’s managed to catch everyone by surprise because I know he’ll be pleased!”
Leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour party, Ed Miliband, has also given his reaction on Twitter:
Proud man. Great manager. Staunch Labour Party supporter. Sir Alex Ferguson will never be forgotten.
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) May 8, 2013
Although a fan of Aston Villa, British Prime Minister David Cameron praised Ferguson on his Twitter:
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) May 8, 2013