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Manchester United confirm Alex Ferguson to retire at the end of the season

“It is the right time,” Ferguson, 71, said as he announced his decision to finally call it quits.

Image: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Updated 9.50am

ALEX FERGUSON WILL retire at the end of the season, calling time on a massively successful 27 years in which he transformed Manchester United into one of the world’s footballing superpowers.

In a statement released to comply with New York Stock Exchange regulations, United confirmed the Scot’s impending departure as manager this morning.

His final game in charge will be against West Brom on 19 May after which he will join the club’s board as a director and ambassador.

“The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly,” Ferguson, 71, said. “It is the right time.”

Everton manager David Moyes has already been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Ferguson while current Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is also among the leading candidates, despite repeated speculation linking him with a return to Chelsea.

Since taking charge in 1986, Ferguson has led the Old Trafford club to two Champions League titles, five FA Cups and a staggering 13 Premier League titles, eclipsing rivals Liverpool and establishing United as England’s most successful club in domestic competition.

This season’s league win — United’s 20th in total — was particularly sweet after the heartbreaking manner in which United were pipped by Manchester City last season and Ferguson said today that the future of the club is safe.

“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.”

Fergie’s retirement: Furious Paddy Crerand gets it spectacularly wrong on Newstalk

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Niall Kelly

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