Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'IT'S THE RIGHT TIME TO RETIRE'; I'M LEAVING WITH CLUB IN BEST SHAPE, SAYS FERGUSON; MOYES IS FRONT RUNNER TO TAKE OVER AT UNITED; 'Now Is the Right Time to Retire, the Club Are in the Best Possible Shape'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'IT'S THE RIGHT TIME TO RETIRE'; I'M LEAVING WITH CLUB IN BEST SHAPE, SAYS FERGUSON; MOYES IS FRONT RUNNER TO TAKE OVER AT UNITED; 'Now Is the Right Time to Retire, the Club Are in the Best Possible Shape'

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley Chief Football Correspondent

MANCHESTER UNITED today confirmed Sir Alex Ferguson will retire as manager at the end of the season after 26 years in charge.

The 71-year-old will step down after the club's final match of the season against West Brom on May 19 to join the board as a director and take up a club ambassador role.

United are yet to comment on who will succeed Ferguson but David Moyes is currently the front runner for the post with his contract at Everton set to expire this month after a decade at Goodison Park.

Rumours circulated last night that Ferguson was considering his future and the club were obliged to make a statement today in accordance to New York Stock Exchange rules regarding the release of significant information relating to the running of the club after their partial flotation last August.

Ferguson said: "The decision to retire is one 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 the long-term future of the club remains bright.

"Our training facilities are among

the finest in global sport and Old Trafford is rightfully regarded as one of the leading venues in the world.

"I am delighted to take on the roles of both director and ambassador for the club.

"I must pay tribute to my family, their love and support has been essential. My wife Cathy has been the key figure throughout my career, providing a bedrock of both stability and encouragement.

"As for my players and staff, past and present, I would like to thank them all for a staggering level of professional conduct and dedication that has helped to deliver so many memorable triumphs. …

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