Sir Alex Ferguson has now become Manchester United’s longest ever serving manager, surpassing Sir Matt Busby’s record of 24 years, 1 month and 13 days. He effortlessly strode into the number one spot as he’s never failed to disappoint despite his unsuccessful early years at United. He’s been an illustrious figure for United, guiding them to an astonishing 35 trophies and boasts a winning record of 57.5%, currently the best in the game for such a long serving manager. His knowledge of the game is unrivaled. He’s achieved many feat’s in his reign of Old Trafford and has guided the careers of players such as Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs & David Beckham. During this era google was created, phones were introduced and internet sensations such as Katy Perry & Justin were brought into into the world of pop.
When Ron Atkinson was sacked and Sir Alex was introduced, people didn’t know an awful lot about the Scotsman. As a player he plied his trade at Falkirk but never made a mark as a player and soon became manager of Aberdeen as he started to experience with the Scottish side. He was once notably known for his formation 4-6-0 which inevitably got them no where and he continued to change things around until he finally got it right and won the league and the next season he managed the, then impossible winning the Champions League with a resounding 1-0 over Real Madrid in 1983.
Relatively unknown among the Old Trafford faithful, Fergie forced a way into their hearts but it took some time. Ferguson was nearly even sacked in 1991 when his weak Manchester United team continued to unimpress and this was seen as a make or break match, playing high flying Nottingham Forrest in the League Cup. A Mark Robins goal was enough to see Ferguson eventually reach the final and save his job. Sir Alex’s first trophy for the Mancunian club came at the start of the newly formed ‘Premier League’. Prior to that United hadn’t won a trophy in 5 years and were growing restless.
Sir Alex started to impress even further as boss and took a further 4 league titles in as many years. Sir Alex has also been commended on his choice of players, some born and bred from the youth side, others from abroad. One of his more notable signings came in the summer of 1991 when Ferguson contacted Keane as part of a move to United. Ferguson was under heavy pressure from then Blackburn manager – and Roy Keane was even said to have signed a contract with the Lancashire club but resisted the temptation and joined Manchester United. At that time the United youth system was also providing players of a high calibre with Beckham, Butt, Scholes and Giggs soon to embark on a memorable journey.
With these batch of players and a mix of Fergie’s current squad, United went onto to win 5 Premier League trophies come 1999. This year defined Alex Ferguson. This was the year Manchester United won the almighty treble. Consistent form was key and that was delivered through United’s Premier League, FA Cup & Champions League campaigns. United secured their first chance of silverware in 99 with a defiant display over Arsenal in the semi’s. It was notable for Ryan Giggs’ mesmerizing run in extra time from behind his own half, clinching the road to the final. Then came the Champions League final, beating Juventus 3-2 in the semi-finals confirming a second possible chance of silverware and last but not least came the Premier League trophy, returning to Old Trafford when the Red Devils beat Tottenham 2-1 securing the title. The Champions League final will go down as one of the enthralling and dramatic in history with the introduction of Teddy Sheringham proving vital. United 1-0 with just injury time to play scored a goal through Teddy Sheringham and then a corner was delivered, which was aimed toward goal by Sheringham and Ole Gunner Solskjaer stuck a foot out to send the Nou Camp into raptures and complete the unbelievable treble for the club from Manchester.
Alex Ferguson’s trophy raids didn’t go unnoticed as he was knighted in the year 1999. This was the ice on the cake for Ferguson and his quest for trophies didn’t slow down in the years to come.
In the 2000’s Ferguson dominated the Premier League winning six titles and a triple title raid in succession, winning in 07, 08 & 09. In 08 he won the Champions League once again beating Chelsea on penalties (quite luckily I may concede!) and capped off an incredible era for the man from Scotland reassuring his place in the footballing hall of fame. He is a world renowned figure and his humbleness and knowledge of the game are what have got him here today. He’s been quite a sensational manager for the Red Devils over these incredible 24 years and Fabio Capello recently said he could still be in the business by the time 2030 comes around and i couldn’t agree more. I have to commend Sir Alex on one hell of a job at Old Trafford and there’s no doubt he’ll go down amongst the managerial greats of the game.