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Leaving the stage as a legend: Sir Alex Ferguson
June 14 , 2013

The Guardian UK called him The Man Who Can’t Retire; the Telegraph thinks he’s The Amazing Alex that never rests, and to the Old Trafford faithfuls, the Red devils, he’s on his feet always and never tiring. He walked down the dugout in his usual gait and gallantry after every match, taking his retirement with levity and cracking jokes about it. He spoke of his health taking him through next season and beyond despite his age. Some never believed his words: that he would continue to be in charge, while some believed in him and his "magic wand" that had kept him on for a long time. He was known to be particularly good with words and mind games. Alas, jaws are still gaped and more jaws still continue to drop worldwide—the streets of Manchester, for example, witnessed people who sighed, moaned and cried that the gum-chewer has finally retired.

As a striker during his playing days, Alex found it hard to command a regular shirt in the team. After signing professionally with Dunfermeline in 1964, from an unsuccessful time with St Johnstone, he later signed with his childhood team Rangers, scoring an astonishing 45 goals in 51 games in the 1965-66 season. This was a breakthrough year for him. Finally, he signed for Falkirk and Ayr, where he subsequently retired in 1974 at the age of 32.

Despite been very young when he retired from active football, he had the chance to move into a managerial position. He was appointed part-time manager of East Stirlinghsire. Later, he held reins from 1974-78 as manager of St Mirren. In 1979 he was fired as the coach of St Mirren. His reputation as a top-flight manager came to fore when he managed Aberdeen to a Super Cup, a League Cup, a European Cup Winners’ Cup, three Scottish Premier League titles and four Scottish Cups, over eight seasons, thus dismantling openly the Celtic-Rangers championship monopoly.

English club, Manchester United, was an underdog without aspiration or title-challenge attitude when Ferguson took over as the gaffer in November 1986. Though he had a rough patch early in the 1989-90 season, the Red devils bounced back later to win the FA Cup same year, followed by winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1991, the League Cup in 1992 and the prestigious English Premiership in 1993. Scottish manager became the first to win a treble: the English Premier League, FA Cup and the European Cup in the 1998-1999 season. Manchester United would go over to win three consecutive Premier League titles, making it four in a row in five years.

United ruled the Premier League again after winning three Premier League titles in straight sets from 2007-2009, coupled with the European Cup and another icing added on the cake: the FIFA Club World Cup in 2008, and then proceeded to win the League Cups back to back in 2009-2010 . United ended their 2010 campaign on a ground-breaking note as they won a record of 19 Premier League titles. No one can deny the fact that the most successful manager in English football history bowed out in style after winning a record 20th Premier League title in the 2012-2013 season.

Ferguson got married in 1966 to his wife, Cathy Holding, and they are blessed with three sons; one of them a football manager.In 1999, he received the knighthood award bestowed on him by the Queen of England for his immense contribution to the game of football. Ferguson received an Honorary Masters in 1998 and Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from the Manchester Metropolitan University. His stories will be told, written and rewritten as long as football holds a special place in the heart of its followers and ardent fans, for no one can be compared to a man who exhibited the true spirit of the game in its glory and gory

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Learn more about this author, Odunayo Iyiola.
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