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Fergie’s time up in Manchester

10 May 2013


AFTER the announcement on Wednesday that Sir Alex Ferguson (above) is to retire as manager of Manchester United after 26 years in the post, the Dean of Manchester, the Very Revd Rogers Govender, said: "Manchester and its cathedral will miss Sir Alex."

The cathedral, he said, "has a close relationship with the club. We have hosted a number of events for players and club members."

The general director of Christians in Sport, Graham Daniels, said: "We know plenty about the Sir Alex Ferguson who has been a giant of world football. . . We have known less about his private life over the years. The little insight given in his retiring statement speaks volumes about his life behind the scenes."

He praised Sir Alex's comments about the support of his family. They were "class, and a model to all leaders in the world of sport".

The head of public affairs for the Evangelical Alliance, Don Horrocks, who is a life-long Manchester United supporter, said that the announcement was "probably the only news story that could have toppled the Queen's Speech from the top of the news bulletins".

He added: "I wish Sir Alex a long and very happy retirement after many years of outstanding service. . . I trust that Christians - especially those who support football clubs everywhere - would join me in expressing the hope that a worthy successor is appointed to maintain the club's tradition for top-class sporting entertainment."

Sir Alex is considered to be the most successful manager in English football history. His team won 38 trophies in his time as manager, including 13 league titles and five FA Cups, and also secured the European Champions League twice.He will bow out after Manchester United's final game of the season, on 19 May. 

Sir Alex grew up in Glasgow, and attended the Shiloh Hall church on Sundays, before joining the 129th Glasgow Company of the Boys' Brigade, where the company leader, Johnny Boreland, introduced him to football.

In 2007, Sir Alex told the Church of Scotland's magazine Life and Work: "Johnny was an absolute fanatic for the game. When we went to camp in places like Stonehaven, we were given a list of everything we had to bring with us, and at the bottom, in big capital letters, he'd put 'AND FOOTBALL BOOTS'" ( News, 29 December 2007).

Question of the Week: Was Sir Alex Ferguson a good role-model?

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