When Sir Alex Ferguson steps out today against Southampton at St Mary’s stadium, it will be his 1000th league game in charge of Manchester United.
He has amassed 598 wins, 233 draws and 168 losses, scoring 1863 goals and conceding 890 along the way, holding a more than impressive 60% winning ratio over his 25 year career.
Since taking the reigns with a 2-0 victory against Oxford United on Saturday 8 November 1986, Sir Alex has gone on to become not only the most successful manager in Manchester United’s history but the most recognisable face in football management worldwide.
‘There have been so many wonderful players at the club and it has been a pleasure and an honour working with them. There’s nothing I like better than to pull my car into the training ground of a morning and look forward to another few hours working with them and my staff.” Sir Alex Ferguson
What he has single handedly done for the club is difficult to comprehend. He has been the cornerstone and creator of our successes and his desire to keep winning burns as brightly today as it ever has. Nobody can bring the best out of a team as much as the great man himself. From Cantona to Beckham to Ronaldo to Keane, he has managed and nurtured some of the greatest players of the modern era, inspiring us to the greatest and most successful period in our history.
Ahead of his magical 1000th game tomorrow Sir Alex talked with Bob Cass at the Daily Mail. Here’s what he had to say:
On the responsibilities of being Manchester United manager…
“There’s an awful lot of trepidation about the job. Being manager of Manchester United carries a tremendous responsibility but hopefully I have been, and will continue to be, able to handle it.”
“Any manager would be thankful to remember one great squad; I’ve had five or six.”
On how he became the manager he is today…
“I never tried to model myself on anyone. I’ve never read any books written by managers. I have always tried to be my own man and do it my way.”
“If I was to give any advice to young managers, it would be not just to learn by your mistakes but also heed the reasons why you made them.”
“I don’t just mean why your team may have lost a game, but all the other things that you have to attend to every day – your judgement of players, tactics, team selection, player welfare – everything.”
On reaching 1000 league games as Manchester United manager…
“I could never imagine how long I would be at the club or that I would be looking forward to my thousandth game.
“It may be a special occasion but it’s just another game that I want to win.”
Sir Alex Ferguson is Manchester United. They are one and the same. The newly renamed North Stand justice to the legacy that he has created. Thoughts about what we are going to do when the 70-year-old finally does decide to hand over the hot seat are difficult to stomach.
His modesty towards the occasion tomorrow will not be one shared by the players. They will be pumped to make sure that they give Sir Alex the right royal celebration that he so rightly deserves. Let’s hope they can deliver a present on a day that Sir Alex will surely never forget.