News of Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to retire as Manchester United manager and move upstairs at Old Trafford has sent shockwaves through the sporting world.
English football’s most successful manager is set to step aside at the end of the Premier League season after a 26-year spell in charge that has seen the Scot win 49 trophies.
Having presided over an extraordinary quarter of a century at the helm at United, Ferguson wants to give another manager the chance to take over the role, with David Moyes and Jose Mourinho the current favourites at 6/4 and 11/10 respectively.
“It is the right time,” said Ferguson.
“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.”
As one of the biggest breaking sports stories in years, it was interesting to see how it developed in real time on Twitter – and here’s a look at how the last few hours panned out on the social network.
The Daily Telegraph first broke the story at Tuesday night at 10pm to send the rumour mill into overdrive about whether or not it was true and who would replace Ferguson at Old Trafford.
Alex Ferguson is understood to be giving serious consideration to ending his 26-year reign as Manchester United manager. More follows #mufc
— Telegraph Sport (@TelegraphSport) May 7, 2013
Confirmation came via the club’s official Twitter feed at 9.17am on Wednesday morning, roughly 12 hours after the story started to snowball online.
Sir Alex Ferguson retires. #thankyousiralex
— ManUtd_PressOffice (@ManUtd_PO) May 8, 2013
Just a recap – if it were needed – about just how incredible Feguson’s Premier League record actually is.
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 8, 2013
Another nice little Ferguson stat here…
Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game for Manchester United (vs West Brom) will be his 1500th game in charge as manager. #MUFC
— Football__Tweet (@Football__Tweet) May 8, 2013
The tributes quickly started to pour in from journalists, rival clubs, players past and present, fans – and even the Prime Minister David Cameron.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) May 8, 2013
His record will surely never be eclipsed. Simply astonishing to read through his managerial record of achievements.
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) May 8, 2013
Just heard Sir Alex Ferguson is retiring at end of season. His achievements in the game place him without doubt as one of the‘greats’. — Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) May 8, 2013
Disappointed, shocked, sad. Didn’t think THAT day would be today.
— Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) May 8, 2013
Sir Alex, one of the best managers of all time. After 26 years of success in the game, we all owe him a tribute.
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) May 8, 2013
Fans of all rival clubs should treat Sir Alex’s retirement with respect, we might not see another manager like him.
— Franny Lee (@FrannyLee7) May 8, 2013
It’s fair to say that Ferguson has polarised opinion like no other football manager – and so it’s hardly surprising that plenty of jokes have been doing the rounds on social media.
BREAKING NEWS: In honour of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, all clubs will play an additional 5 minutes of injury time this weekend.
— Not Match of the Day (@NOT_MOTD) May 8, 2013
And yet, somehow, Arsene Wenger is STILL there…
— Danny Baker (@prodnose) May 8, 2013
Before rumours start getting out of hand I want to make things clear. I will not be taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson. Thank you.
— John Bishop (@JohnBishop100) May 8, 2013
Ferguson’s refusal to do post-match pressers with the papers means his last words as United manager will be: “Well done, Geoff.” Fitting.
— Rory Smith (@RorySmithTimes) May 8, 2013
Twitter went into a virtual meltdown and the trending topics worldwide at 9.55am gave a clear indication of the front runners to replace Ferguson – and we’re not talking about Paul Ince here. Sorry, Paul.
Iain Dowie even started trending…here’s why…
Ferguson = box office.
— Twitter Sports (@TwitterSports) May 8, 2013
And now attention turns to the next United manager.
Sky sources: David Moyes is in “pole position” to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager #ssn
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 8, 2013
whatever you do, don’t put money on Klopp or Jose.
— raphael honigstein (@honigstein) May 8, 2013
Really hope David Moyes is given a chance at the United job. I think he’s the right fit and I’m sure he’d win trophies.
— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_SM) May 8, 2013
The feeling around Goodison is that United will want a global name like Mourinho rather than Moyes. Moyes still hasn’t won anything.
— David Anderson (@MirrorAnderson) May 8, 2013
The only problem for Mourinho is that Sir Bobby Charlton doesn’t like his style. Of course, it is up to the Glazers to make the final call.
— David Anderson (@MirrorAnderson) May 8, 2013