Wednesday, May 08, 2013
HOW TEARFUL ALEX FERGUSON TOLD HIS STUNNED PLAYERS THAT HE WAS QUITTING MANCHESTER UNITED
With emotion and tears in his eyes, Manchester United gaffer, Sir Alex Ferguson announced he was retiring in front of his players during emotional scenes in the first-team changing room at the club's Carrington training centre this morning.
The 71-year-old arrived at the club as normal at 6.50am, before hastily arranging three separate meetings with his first-team squad, his technical and coaching staff, and finally the rest of the staff at Carrington.
Shortly after the players arrived, he gathered the team together in the changing rooms and, in a short but heartfelt speech, announced he was to step down at the end of the season after landing his 13th Premier League trophy.
He told the players that he was sorry he had to break the news to them now and that he had been hoping to delay the announcement and do it under his own steam.
He then took his technical and coaching staff into a briefing room and spoke to them, before finally addressing all the rest of the staff in the canteen.
An emotional Ferguson told of how proud he was of the whole staff's dedication and the work they had put in during his 26-and-a-half years at the club. He also praised his wife Cathy for her dedication.
Some members of staff, particularly those who have been at United for 30 years, were in tears while Ferguson spoke and the manager himself was choked up.
He admitted there might be some changes at the club after his departure but did not address whether any staff at the training ground would be losing their jobs.
He was due to join the players at their racing day out in Chester, but did not travel on the team coach at lunchtime.
Announcing the news, in a statement on the club's website at around 10am today, 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.
It is understood that Manchester United have already chosen the great Scot's replacement in David Moyes. Moyes is expected to be unveiled anytime soon and the link with Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has been dismissed despite the Portuguese's talks with Chelsea stalling.