ON THIS DAY: Nine years ago Sir Alex Ferguson gave an emotional farewell speech at Old Trafford and Manchester United still haven’t moved on from the legendary Scot
Rio Ferdinand sent a warning to United after Sir Alex Ferguson retired (Image: John Peters/Getty Images)ByFelix KeithNational Network Sports Writer
- 10:58, 12 May 2022
- Updated11:08, 12 May 2022
Manchester United’s failure to move on from Sir Alex Ferguson has been brought into sharp contrast by the nine-year anniversary of his famous farewell speech at Old Trafford.
United face yet another regime change this summer, with Erik ten Hag arriving from Ajax to take over from interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who himself was a stop-gap after the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November. Ten Hag will be the eighth person, including caretakers, to take the hot seat since Ferguson stepped down after 27 years of service in the role.
With a microphone in his hand, following a 2-1 win over Swansea City, Ferguson addressed the Old Trafford crowd for the final time. After reflecting on his career and thanking the fans, his staff and the players, Ferguson considered what comes next.
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"I'd also like to remind you that when we had bad times here, the club stood by me, all my staff stood by me, the players stood by me,” he said. “Your job now is to stand by our new manager. That is important.”
As we know, the new manager did not last long. David Moyes signed a six-year contract with United but was gone within 10 months. Ryan Giggs, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Michael Carrick and Rangnick have all tried and failed to live up to Ferguson since.
Rio Ferdinand is now a prominent pundit whose opinions carry plenty of weight around United. But back in May 2013 he was still a player and an authoritative figure in the United dressing room. Something he said about Ferguson then is worth reflecting on now.
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Sir Alex Ferguson retired after 27 years of service at Manchester United
John Peters/Getty Images)
"To win at Old Trafford, the man's desire to win football matches, to keep bringing success to the football club, he deserves a win in his last home game," said Ferdinand. "It's obviously a personal thing between the squad and the manager. It's emotional. For us to hear it was devastating but it's a big club and we have to move on. He wants that."
'Move on'. That is something everyone wanted, Ferguson included, but it is something that definitely has not happened yet. Ferguson managed a whopping 1,500 games for United; Solskjaer, with 168, is the longest-serving boss in the years since.
Ten Hag has signed a contract with United until June 2025, with the option of a further year. The 52-year-old Dutchman knows the size of the task he has chosen to take on but will move to Manchester at a good time in his career, having sealed another Eredivisie title on Wednesday night. Ten Hag has now won three Eredivisie titles in four full seasons with Ajax, as well as two KNVB Cups.
“It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead,” he said when appointed last month. "I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.” Maybe under Ten Hag United can finally succeed in moving on from Ferguson.
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