Alex Ferguson Announces Retirement After 2012-13 Season

Alex Ferguson To Retire Manager of Manchester United

All the best, Fergie

In a surprise announcement that was seen coming but still came a bit unexpected, Sir Alex Ferguson has announced his retirement as manager of Manchester United.

Below is his statement :-

"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.
"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."

Favourites to succeed Alex Ferguson

There are the same few hot names in football management often bandied about whenever a big club is looking for a manager, surely with its big name and club reputation, Man U could easily attract the interest of the cream of the crop in football management these days. And with Champions League football next season plus the tough competition in EPL from Man City and Chelsea, it would be foolish to take the risk with an unknown or unproven candidate. A wrong step could spell disaster for the club and mark the start of a downhill spiral - similar to what happened to Liverpool (no offence to Liverpool fans), who were the club to beat in the 80s. 

First up, one of the hottest names in football management, Pep Guardiola, has already signed up to take over Bayern Munich. Early bird catches the big worm, if only Sir Alex had indicated his desire earlier, the board of Man U could have poached Pep Guardiola in time for next season.

Then comes the next hottest name - Jose Mourinho. Although he is not expected to be in the frame as news reported that a high-ranking Stamford Bridge source had told ESPN that the Portuguese is "virtually certain" to replace Rafael Benitez.

However, as he has not been formally announced at Chelsea yet, I think the door is not closed for him to take over Sir Alex at Man U. Moreover, he has often been mentioned in the past as a possible replacement - no smoke without fire, he could have been approached with a tacit understanding in place with Man U. So all these recent media talk of Jose Mourinho dropping hints of re-joining Chelsea could be a smoke bomb as his true destination could be Man U instead. Don't forget that he left Chelsea in a huff after much acrimony with the Russian owner, with his credentials, why would he need to go back and offer the other side of his face for the rich owner to slap? If I were Mourinho, I would certainly choose any team but Chelsea.

Finally, we are down to David Moyes, whose name has been widely bandied about as the possible replacement for some time now. Based on his results with Everton, he has proven his worth by producing decent results for a budget team. But, it is a totally different ball game at Man U, challenging for title is different from challenging for a Europa Cup place, can he step up for the job? Does he have the big club potential? I would think that it is a risky move to sign him, despite his solid job results so far - as he is unproven at the highest level yet.

Another possible candidate could be Rafael Benitez who could be out of job at Chelsea, but I personally think his personality does not suit Man U. 

Further down the pecking order, possible candidates could be

Jurgen Klopp (if he can be pried from Dortmund) - Proven credentials, I would rate him in the same breath as Pep and Jose.
Joachim Leow (another prized catch) - he was actually the brain behind German's international football revival from 2006, not Jurgen Klinnsman as many believed.

Roberto Martinez (if Wigan goes down) - unproven at the top
Michael Laudrup (impressive at Swansea) - unproven but I would think his results at Swansea is more impressive than David Moyes at Everton. At least he has a silverware to show.

Now, lets look at the long shots :-
Roberto Mancini - if he is sacked by Man City, LOL! Considering his team is made up of such expensive players, I think he is a flop for what he has shown so far. Man City owners would be happy to let him go to Man U.
Martin O'Neil - sacked by Sunderland, jobless now. If he cant manage Sunderland out of relegation troubles, can he bring Man U to the title again? Obvious answer isn't it?
Sam Allardyce - sacked by Blackburn, now with West Ham. More suited for mid to bottom table teams, sorry Sam.
Neil Lennon - he shares some similarities as Fergie - who led Aberdeen to Scot champions before he was seconded to Man U - could history repeat itself with Neil Lennon who has done the same for Celtic?

Former players who have managerial experience, for eg.Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce, Gordon Strachan, Lou Macari, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona (supper long shot!)...nah, none of them has outstanding managerial credentials to show yet.

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