Ferguson eager to sign off with victory in his 1500th game
Alex Ferguson says the fire to win is still burning ahead of his last ever game as manager of Manchester United against West Bromwich Albion this weekend.sports Updated: May 17, 2013 19:44 IST
Alex Ferguson says the fire to win is still burning ahead of his last ever game as manager of Manchester United against West Bromwich Albion this weekend.
The 71-year-old Scot will take charge of his last game on Sunday as his side visit The Hawthorns in what will also be his 1,500th game in charge of the club.
He says he wants to win it even more than last Sunday's farewell game at Old Trafford, when United beat Swansea City 2-1 thanks to a late Rio Ferdinand goal.
"Now the match on Sunday, 1500 games, it has been quite incredible," said Ferguson, in his final weekly press conference.
"It could not be more difficult. West Brom have done terrific this season and they (United's players) will want to win this one more than last week's even, so hopefully we can do that."
Ferguson says he will be keeping himself busy outside of football when he finally ends his 26-and-a-half-year reign at United.
Asked to divulge his immediate plans, he revealed that he has a League Managers' Association meeting on Monday, followed by two days at the Newmarket races.
The Scot will then go on a holiday, before returning for a hip operation in early August.
He said: "I am driven to take on challenges in other ways. I've got the LMA meeting on Monday, going to Newmarket, as I have a share in the horse Telescope, then I go on holiday on June 4 for a month, then I have an operation, then the recovery, and then the season starts.
"It is going to be a different life. It's almost 40 years as a manager."
Ferguson could not pick a favourite memory from his time at United and said the whole experience had been an incredible journey.
"The memories are all there - 26 years at Manchester United is fantastic, just the whole thing," he said. "When I came here I was privileged and the day I left I was honoured. Being here is a thing to be proud of."
He did concede that the game has changed significantly since his first job as a manger back in 1974 with Scottish side East Sterlingshire.
Ferguson went on to manage St Mirren and Aberdeen and had a brief spell as Scotland manager at the 1986 World Cup before taking charge of United in November of that year.
"It is inevitable that change comes around, you have to manage that," he said. "There has been big changes in terms of number of staff, sports science and technology that has come in.
"When I started there were no agents, media was different then too, and no freedom of contract. Changes have been there and I have integrated into them. I don't think I've changed much."
Ferguson also paid tribute to United's supporters following an unforgettable week.
After Sunday's emotional win over Swansea, over half a million fans lined the streets of Manchester on Monday evening to show their appreciation to the manager and his players as they celebrated their 20th English league title with an open-top bus parade.
The celebrations even bettered their Treble-winning success of 1999, according to Ferguson.
"It has been amazing, the last week. Sunday was unbelievable. The parade on Monday, I thought that '99 could not be beaten, but I think this was better than that," he said.
"I went home that night and got 10 hours sleep I think for the first time in my life. Cathy (his wife) kept coming up and I think she was checking if I was still alive. It was marvellous."
Ferguson also said that he never once reconsidered his retirement plan, having decided he would leave at Christmas, despite United's disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid in March.
"I made my mind up quite a while ago," he said. "You cannot have success without disappointment."
First Published: May 17, 2013 19:30 IST