It is the 08th of May.
A day famously known for the birth of one of my truly amazing and wonderful friends in 1992.
Instead of being cheerfully happy for her on her 21st nameday, I find myself tearfully holding on to memories of the great Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson on hearing the news that he has announced his retirement.
I’m letting that sink in and remembering all of seven of the 26 full years he has been at the helm of this great club and I am overwhelmed by emotions. It isn’t the end of the world. Clearly it is not, but that doesn’t make me feel any more able to cope with this.
Change in life is inevitable, it happens. We build bridges. We get over it.
At 71 years, it’s expected that he would make such a decision – at least it’s understandable. He’d always said that the only thing that could lead to his retirement was any health issue that might arise and with hip-replacement surgery looming this summer … it was going to happen.
I wasn’t even a thought in either my mother’s or father’s mind when Sir Alex became the manager of Manchester United. As I mentioned before, I’ve only known seven of the 26 years he’s been at the helm. But those seven years have left me with so many good memories . . . no, great memories of victories that will forever touch my heart.
That night in Moscow. (21/05/08)
That nineteenth premier league title and knocking Liverpool off it’s perch.
That night at Old Trafford against AS Roma. (On the road to Moscow)
Those three are definitely up there with every single thing that happened in the last seven years.
Those two Champions League final losses against FC Barcelona . . . at Wembley.
That league loss on the final day of the season to Manchester City. (That Aguero goal).
All those losses and dropped points that made me so angry.
I saw a post on Twitter not too long ago that said, and I am quoting here:
If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor…
Sir Alex Ferguson has taken us to the top, it’s what we know. For people like me, it’s what courses through our veins. I may not have been a Manchester United supporter for very long but (I think) I have experienced enough of the bad times to be able to enjoy the great times and even without Sir Alex my love for this club is transcendental. I’m looking forward to seeing who the new manager will be, the one who will no doubt fill his shoes and do his best to continue in Sir Alex’s footsteps and build this club from strength to strength.
All the statistics of a Manchester United under Sir Alex’s tutelage come out and they make you sigh and smile. 27 years at the helm is a long time and at 71, this great man has done a great deal to put us up there with the best – he and all of the teams that he has created.
This is me thanking Sir Alex for the foundation he has laid. For the great club he is leaving behind and knowing that he’ll be there as a director on the board makes you feel a little better. It’s a great thing to have known this man and all that he has done for the club.
It will take some getting accustomed to not seeing him there angrily yelling at his players on the sidelines or sitting there furiously chewing on his bubblegum.
It will take some getting accustomed to but it’s not the end of the world. The Manchester United that I know and love can pull through this, I am sure and I am confident that whoever they put in his place will lead us to a 21st title sooner rather than later.