Sir Alex Ferguson is retiring; but what are his 10 most important moments at Old Trafford?
Such is the plethora of incredible moments throughout the Manchester United career of Sir Alex Ferguson I have left out a litany of inspired moments that have defined him.
The signings of Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo and Peter Schmeichel. The 2008 Champions League win; the Roy Keane sacking; the Sheffield Wednesday jig and even kicking a boot in the face of David Beckham are all excluded along with his mind-games and ‘Pizzagate’ but here are the ten moments chosen that hopefully define his era.
Selling Paul McGrath and Norman Whiteside
These two players were hugely popular figures at Manchester United and their sale was very controversial at the time. Worried with their lifestyle and injury worries Fergie sent them packing amid a storm.
That no nonsense attitude remains today and the likes of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Paul Ince, Andrei Kanchelskis and David Beckham have realised that when Fergie wants you gone; you better start packing.
Mark Robins ‘goal that saved Fergie’
Whether you believe it saved Sir Alex his job or not is another story entirely but there is little doubting the prevalence of this story in United folklore. He grabbed the goal in the third round of the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest that led United to their…
1990 FA Cup Win
… first ever trophy under Sir Alex. Robins might have kept him in charge but it was Lee Martin’s strike in the replay with Crystal Palace that saw Sir Alex and Bryan Robson dance the night away.
Giving Ryan Giggs his debut
When the flying Welshman made his debut against Everton on the 2nd March 1991 I doubt anyone thought he would still be playing today. Yet here he is; the most decorated footballer in English history preparing to outlive his mentor at Old Trafford next season.
Definitely his most inspired decision.
First League title in 1993
Fergie won his first of 13 Premier League titles by beating Aston Villa to the crown in 1993. It was the first season of the Premier League era; which also defined Fergie’s reign as he went on to become a master of the gab when thrust in front of a microphone. Of course they went on to win 13 Premier League titles under his reign.
Can’t win anything with kids
1995; and after culling the likes of Ince, Kanchelskis and Mark Hughes the time had come to bring through some young talent. The Neville brothers, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and Paul Scholes were all brought in to face Aston Villa on the opening day of the season; and they lost 3-1.
Alan Hansen said his infamous words and United went on to win the title and the FA Cup; with a little help from Eric Cantona and a Kevin Keegan melt-down.
Perhaps the single most iconic moment of his reign will always be that night in Barcelona. The never-say-die attitude he had instilled in his players saw substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bag two goals in the final minute to secure his first European Cup triumph.
Eleven years ago Ferguson was all set to be replaced by Sven-Goran Eriksson when he announced his decision to retire. But spurred on by his trademark love for winning he decided to stay on for at least another three years. Only in 2013 are we saying goodbye.
Making Manchester United the most successful team in England was always his goal and after winning the title in 2010-11 they overtook Liverpool and Fergie had achieved his goal.
2013 title win - The Noisy Neighbours Nullified
Finally, and surely one of his biggest achievements, has been fighting off his noisy neighbours this campaign.
After losing out to the big-spending rivals last year in such an agonising way this clearly meant a lot for Sir Alex as they comfortably wrapped up the title this month.
What are your favourite Sir Alex Ferguson moments?
image: © marcel sigg