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Wednesday 08 May 2013

Scudamore leads tributes to Ferguson

Premier League Chief Executive hails Sir Alex Ferguson's 'drive, ambition, skill, passion and vision'

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has led the tributes to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who has announced that he will be retiring in the summer.

Ferguson will step down after a glittering career and with the club still celebrating their 13th Barclays Premier League title success.

Scudamore said: "The Premier League has had the privilege to witness many great players, managers and teams. No one has made as great a contribution to the Premier League than Sir Alex Ferguson.

"Whatever the future holds, one thing is for certain, it will not be the same without him"
Richard Scudamore on Sir Alex Ferguson

"His drive, ambition, skill, passion and vision have not only shaped Manchester United, but in many ways the game of football as we now know it.

"Sir Alex and his teams during the Premier League era have set the pace others have had to follow; 13 titles out of 21 seasons is a phenomenal achievement. What always stood out though was the reaction to missing out, personified in this season's campaign.

"His ability to adapt as the game progressed, developing players from within Manchester United’s youth set-up and integrating them with some of the world's finest talent created many formidable teams playing some wonderful football. 

"He is universally respected by his peers right across the world game and I am sure that even fans of rival clubs will appreciate how remarkable his many achievements have been.

"It was always unrealistic to expect Sir Alex to keep going forever, but he has built something substantial and lasting at Manchester United and his values will continue to resonate throughout the club for many years to come. That will be his permanent legacy to English football.

"Whatever the Premier League has become, Manchester United is its standard bearer and Sir Alex their talisman. Whatever the future holds, one thing is for certain, it will not be the same without him."

Here, other leading figures pay tribute to the most successful manager in English football history.

Former Man Utd winger David Beckham

"As I have said many times before the boss wasn't just the greatest and best manager I ever played under he was also a father figure to me from the moment I arrived at the club at the age of 11 until the day I left.

"I am truly honoured to have been guided by the greatest manager in football"

"Without him I would never have achieved what I have done in my career. He understood how important it was to play for your country and he knew how much it meant to me. After '98 without the manager I would have found it virtually impossible to cope with the attention I was getting on and off the field and for this I will always be grateful to him for his support and protection.

"I am truly honoured to have been guided by the greatest manager in football and to have had the career that I had under him. Thank you boss and enjoy the rest!"

Former Man Utd defender and now manager of newly-promoted Hull City Steve Bruce

"It doesn't seem quite right that Fergie won't be in charge of Manchester United any more. It's impossible to copy somebody like him. He will treat the groundsman just as well as he will treat his star centre-forward. He's got a fantastic humility about him, for all that he's achieved."

Former Chelsea playmaker and now Watford manager Gianfranco Zola

"It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have had him in front of me, first as a player and then as a manager. He is simply the best, there is no other adjective to describe him. He has been outstanding in what he has done.

"I always remember the first time I faced him as a colleague with West Ham, it was quite emotional for me as he has always been someone I looked up to.

"We will miss him, that's for sure, but we can only say thank you for what he has done because it has been remarkable. It will be tough to replace him but I am sure he will still be around to help because I know how much he cares about the club."

England manager Roy Hodgson

"The unexpected news this morning that Sir Alex Ferguson has decided to retire marks the end of an era in football management.

"No one will be able to match his achievements, his dedication, his support for colleagues in need and his team building know-how.

"This is a sad day for English football. I personally wish him a happy and successful retirement."

Man Utd chief executive David Gill

"What he has done for this club and for the game in general will never be forgotten"

"Alex's vision, energy and ability have built teams - both on and off the pitch - that his successor can count on as among the best and most loyal in world sport.

"The way he cares for this club, his staff and for the football family in general is something that I admire. It is a side to him that is often hidden from public view but it is something that I have been privileged to witness in the last 16 years.

"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 Man Utd midfielder Paul Ince

"He's done the lot, you will never see anyone of his kind again. I remember the first day that I joined Man Utd. I failed my medical and I thought my move to Man Utd was going to collapse. The way he treated me was like a son and I will never forget that moment.

"To play under that man was so demanding, his standards were so high."

Football Association Chairman David Bernstein

"Sir Alex Ferguson's achievements are truly remarkable - he is genuinely one of the greatest managers of all time and certainly of the modern era.

"His contribution to English football has been outstanding in every regard and, in The FA's 150th year, it is something that should be celebrated. On behalf of The FA I'd like to wish him a happy and healthy retirement."

Former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke

"He's been such a focal point at the football club. He's taken Manchester United to the level they are at right now.

"He has very, very high standards"

"It's a shock to the system because he's been there every day. He's the one person when you go into the football club he's always there. For him not to be there from the start of next season, it's not going to be right around the football club and it will take some getting used to.

"He has very, very high standards and it's all about winning trophies and breaking records with Sir Alex Ferguson. But there's more to the man. How they lost the Premier League last season - that would have hurt him immensely. Certainly losing it to Manchester City, that would have hurt worse than anything else. He wanted to regain it and he's managed to do that in a great way and with a great style of play."

UEFA president Michel Platini

"Sir Alex has made a massive contribution to football, not only in Scotland and in England, but across Europe and beyond. His dedication, his attention to detail and his unique eye for talent, as both the manager of Manchester United FC and Aberdeen FC, has brought rich rewards over a 30-year period.

"His CV is almost unique in a results-based profession that normally focuses on short-term solutions rather than long-term vision.

"He is a true visionary and I hope that, having helped us in the past through various coaching initiatives, he will continue to collaborate with UEFA to share his fantastic knowledge with the next generation of up-and-coming European coaches who all wish to emulate his achievements in the sport."

Sports Minister Hugh Robertson

"Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the greatest British managers of all time and has been an incredible servant to Manchester United, bringing the club unprecedented success domestically and in Europe.

"His enthusiasm for our national game is boundless and I congratulate him on a remarkable managerial career."

Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor

"The game of football will be a lot poorer place without him. He has been quite simply the best. He followed in Sir Matt Busby's footsteps and even surpassed him. He will be also be the toughest act to follow.

"He is a great football man"

"I will miss him - he has been a very good friend of the PFA throughout his career. Of course at times it has not always been smooth and we have had a difference of opinion but we always respected each other and we have had a lot more agreements than disagreements.

"He is a great football man, he has turned out team after team and in terms of youth development he has been one of the finest exponents of that. He has had a faith and a belief in his youngsters that is rare in today's football."

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Key Points

  • Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore leads tributes to Sir Alex Ferguson
  • Ferguson to retire in the summer after 26 glorious years at Old Trafford
  • David Beckham and Steve Bruce also hail the career of the 71-year-old