Sir Alex Ferguson, one of most decorated managers in all of football history, announced on Wednesday that he would be retiring from the club that he made into a global brand.
Ferguson revealed that he would be retiring at the end of this season after 26 years at Manchester United, during which time he became one of the most visible and surely the most successful coaches in all of English football.
"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly,'' the 71-year-old said in a statement on Wednesday. "It is the right time.''
Ferguson, who has won 49 trophies throughout his career, started in professional football in Scotland where he won 11 titles before coming to Old Trafford in 1986. During his tenure at United he led the Red Devils to 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League championships, two Champions League titles and five FA Cups as well as six European club competitions.
"It was important to me to leave an organization in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so,'' Ferguson 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 setup will ensure that the long-term future of the club remains a bright one.''
Ferguson is spot on; he has managed to bring United to the forefront of football stardom and has turned the club into one of the largest sport brands in the world.
The club is owned by the American Glazer family and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange with an estimated value of $3.1 billion.
There is already speculation of who will succeed Ferguson with the top two names being David Moyes of Everton, whose contract is up at the end of the season, and Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, who is thought to desire a return to English football.