Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed he will be retiring after 26 years in charge at Old Trafford.
Reports emerged on Tuesday night claiming the 71-year-old Scot was considering retirement, which was confirmed to be the case by a Manchester United statement this morning.
Ferguson will now take on a Director role at Old Trafford after securing his 13th and the club’s 20th league title this season.
“The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time,” he said in the statement.
“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 that the long-term future of the club remains a bright one.
“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.
“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.”
Ferguson will retire as the most decorated manager in British football history and having taken Manchester United to a new record of title wins.
The 20th title was the 38th trophy he led his side to since moving to Old Trafford from Aberdeen in 1986.
As well as 13 Premier League titles, the Red Devils won five FA Cups, four League Cups and two UEFA Champions League titles under Ferguson’s stewardship.
Everton manager David Moyes has been tipped to succeed him, but Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is expected to leave the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer and could be another option.
Ferguson paid tribute to the Manchester United fans as he ended arguably the most glorious era in British football.
“To the fans, thank you. The support you have provided over the years has been truly humbling. It has been an honour and an enormous privilege to have had the opportunity to lead your club and I have treasured my time as manager of Manchester United.”