Fergie to retire at end of season
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed he is to retire at the end of the season, ending his history-making spell at the club.
Ferguson's last game in charge will be at West Brom on May 19 and he will join the club's football board.
"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly," said Ferguson. "It is the right time."
He added: "It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so," he said. "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."
Ferguson has had a career the like of which will never be seen again. He won his 49th trophy in United's 20th league championship and seemed set to extend his career into next season, confirming as much in his programme notes ahead of Sunday's encounter with Chelsea.
Instead, with a hip operation booked in for August, this weekend's Old Trafford encounter with Swansea, that will be followed by a trophy presentation, will be his last home game in charge. He leaves behind a club in good shape.
"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," said Ferguson. "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.
"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. Words are not enough to express what this has meant to me.
"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. Without their contribution the history of this great club would not be as rich."
Now, for the first time in over a quarter of a century, United are on the hunt for a new manager. David Moyes, out of contract at Everton, and Jose Mourinho, who is expected to leave Real Madrid at the end of the season, are the obvious favourites, although Borussia Dortmund's highly-regarded coach Jurgen Klopp and Bayern Munich's 67-year-old outgoing boss Jupp Heynckes will also come into contention.