Consistent reports are now emerging that Sir Alex Ferguson will announce his retirement at the end of the 2010-2011 season and this time they could be right on the money. “Could Be” has got to be heavily emphasised because Ferguson will be loathe to walk away from a job that has come to define his life but the time must be approaching and he has to know it as much as everyone else.
So why should we believable these reports when so many have been way off the mark in the past? First of all, Ferguson has always placed a lot of importance on reaching certain milestones, maybe it’s his way of setting goals for himself, so here’s a couple to ponder upon.
Sir Matt Busby officially became Manchester United manager in March 1945 and retired from the position in June 1969 completing 24 years and 24 seasons in the job.
Sir Alex Ferguson took over in November 1986 so at the end of the 2010-2011 season will complete 24 years and 6 months as manager, 6 months short of a quarter of a century, but completing 25 seasons. He may even stay on until December 31st 2011 in an advisory manager capacity in order to complete his 25 years and retire on his 70th birthday.
These are obviously significant dates but even more so when we look back at the following comments which may have been forgotten.
“I won’t be managing here any more than three years at the very, very most. Without question. I can assure you of that” Sir Alex, The Guardian, 25 May 2008
“I won’t be doing a Bobby Robson and be a manager when I am 70. It is just knowing when to quit. Football is like a drug which is difficult to give up” Sir Alex, Daily Telegraph 29 Nov 2008
And from the man who must know Sir Alex better than anyone – Manchester United will be looking for a new manager at the end of next season according to Sir Alex Ferguson’s son Darren, who believes that the longest serving and oldest manager in the business could be in the final 14 months of his epic time in charge at Old Trafford “I can see him doing this year and next and then that might be it for him” said Ferguson Junior. The Guardian, 27 March 2009
Certainly these are not comments that should be taken as definite facts set in stone but just as obviously, neither should they be completely dismissed out of hand. Reports stating that Ferguson has also informed United of his decision to quit the club next summer, if true, are also significant.
Uncertainty about his retirement still abounds but there is one absolute fact that can never be doubted. When Sir Alex goes as he eventually must, it will be at a time of his own choosing in the knowledge that he has transformed a dormant giant into one of the world’s biggest and successful clubs.
Will Sir Alex retire at the end of the 2010-2011 season?