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Statue of Ferguson unveiled at Old Trafford

posted 24 Nov 2012, 07:45 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 24 Nov 2012, 07:45 ]

Players past and present are present as Manchester United unveil a statue of managerAlex Ferguson to honour his 26 years at the club.

 MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (NOVEMBER 23, 2012) (REUTERS) -  Alex Ferguson's glittering reign as Manchester United manager was celebrated when his wife Cathy unveiled a bronze statue of the Scot outside Old Trafford on Friday (November 23).

The 2.7 metre statue was revealed at a ceremony attended by the current United squad and many of the greats who have worked under the long-serving Ferguson such as Eric CantonaRuud van Nistelrooy and Peter Schmeichel.

Ferguson, who has been in charge for 26 years and won 12 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues, appeared delighted with his likeness.

"Normally people die before they see their statue or people see their statue. I'm outliving death," he said at the unveiling which drew a crowd of 2,500 to the stadium. "But you know it's an incredible journey I have had at the club. There's so many great players that I have managed and some of them are here today, and it's through them; they actually should build this statue for all of them, they have been fantastic players to have, they're a marvellous bunch.

"And I have been privileged to deal with such great players from 1986 right through until today and they have given us all enormous pleasure.

"We all have a part to play, as a manager and all the coaches and medical staff I have had over the years have they've also played their part. But I am really proud today and it is a fantastic honour and I would like to thank Manchester United directors and the owners and all who have been involved in the decision making, it is a really proud moment for me."

Van Nisterlrooy, who played for United from 2001-2006, told Reuters: "You have to put him there as the number one, I mean there is no other thing to say. If you have a career of 26 years and the success he has brought to this club, the single club he worked for, I mean he must be the most successful ever.

"It is incredible, the time is incredible to do that, day in day out, year in year out and 26 years in a row, that is why he deserves this honour, a great honour as he said as well to get a statue and a stand called after you. He was very proud obviously it must be a great moment for him, he deserves it because it is a remarkable thing that he has done."

Schmeichel, who Ferguson has described as the signing of the century when he joined United from Brondby for £505,000 in 1991, said: "I am really happy on his behalf today because when he came up he says 'normally people would be dead when they get to this point'.

"And he gets to see this and I think it is so well deserved because I don't think there is a single person in this country or the world of football who has been more influential than he has."

Andrew Cole played with Schmeichel in United's treble winning team of 1999 and he felt nobody will ever emulate Ferguson's achievements.

"For one manager to manage for as long as he has done, to achieve what he has done that's remarkable," Cole said. "And will it be done again? Not in my life time. I don't think, like I said before, a manager will manage for another club for 26 years, so the manager just keeps going from strength to strength."

The statue was sculpted by artist Philip Jackson, who was also responsible for another Old Trafford statue portraying former manager Matt Busby as well as the United Trinity piece featuring Bobby CharltonGeorge Best and Denis Law.

Ferguson's first win as manager of United was a 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers on November 6, 1986 and Ferguson's side play the same team on Saturday (November 24).