Rio Ferdinand has revealed how the Manchester United players and staff were rendered stunned into silence by the admission of Sir Alex Ferguson that he would retire from his duties as manager at the end of the season.
Ferguson announced last week that he would relinquish power at the end of the current campaign after over 26 illustrious years at the Old Trafford helm, during which he has clinched 13 Premier League titles.
David Moyes was confirmed as the 71-year-old's successor the following day, and will take up the position as Manchester United's first new manager since 1986 after Everton's final game of the season on Sunday.
Reports of Ferguson's imminent Manchester United began to surface the evening before he took the decision to reveal all, and did so to his players in a hastily arranged team meeting last Wednesday morning.
Ferdinand says he and his teammates had been aware of the reports that Ferguson was considering leaving Manchester United, but refused to believe it until the Scot informed them all of the news.
"We came in and there was a notice in the board to say there was a meeting. We were a bit shocked, because there were rumours in the papers that the manager was going to leave," Ferdinand said, as reported by The Mirror.
"But we were like, 'Nah, there's no chance he's going to be leaving, there are too many good things going on at the club that can happen in the next couple of years with the squad he's building'.
"Then he broke the news and the thing I'll probably remember most from it is that it was dead quiet in the room. Even when he left, there was just a real mad silence.
"I think it was just a combination of disappointment, but respect as well for the manager's decision for what he's done for the club and what he's done for us as individuals and as a team.
"So you've got to respect his decision. He knows what he's doing, he's been in the game a long time and I think he deserves his rest."
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