‘It’s been the most fantastic experience of my life.’
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said farewell to Old Trafford with a typically passionate speech after his side’s 2-1 victory over Swansea in his final home match in charge of the team.
Ferguson, 71, announced earlier this week that he will retire at the end of the season, bringing the curtain down on a record-breaking 26-and-a-half-year spell in which he has amassed 38 trophies.
The Scot, who will be replaced by Everton boss Davis Moyes, took to the pitch to address supporters after Sunday’s game, having earlier been granted a guard of honour by players from both sides as he made his way onto the pitch.
Ferguson will take charge of United for the 1,500th and final time at West Bromwich Albion next Sunday.
Here is his speech in full:
“I’ve no script in my mind, I just want to ramble on and get to the core of what this football club is meant to be.
“Thank you to Manchester United not just the directors, players, coaching staff, supporters, it’s all of you. It has been the most fantastic experience of my life. Thank you
“I have been very fortunate, I’ve been able to manage some of the greatest players in the country let alone Manchester United.
“All these players here today, they have represented our club the proper way and have won a championship in fantastic fashion. Well done to the players.
“My retirement doesn’t mean the end of my life at the club. I will be able to enjoy watching them rather than suffering with them.
“But if you think about it, those last minute goals, comebacks, even the defeats, are all part of this great football club of ours.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience so thank you for that.
“I’d also like to remind you that when we had bad times here the club stood by me, the players stood by me, and your job now is to stand by our new manager. That is important.
“Before I start bubbling, I just want to pay tribute to Paul Scholes who retires today.
“Paul is one of the greatest players this club has ever had and ever will have.
“I wish you a great retirement and I know you will still be around annoying me!
“I wish the players every success in the future. You know how good you are.
“I’m going home, well I’m going inside for a while first.
“I just want to thank you from all the Ferguson family. They are all up there, 11 grandchildren. Thank you, thank you.”