Saturday, June 22, 2013

Top Ten Fergie memories to savour at Manchester United..

After 26 trophy laden years as manager of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson caught pretty much everyone by surprise with his retirement announcement. To their credit United fans have, in the main, embraced change as we look forward to what will hopefully be another glorious chapter in the club's rich history under new manager David Moyes. We look back at Fergie's time at Old Trafford and give you our Top Ten Fergie memories.

*The task of creating this list hasn't been easy; there's so many wonderful memories to savour. Everyone will have their own favourites and so we make no apology for omissions. **All lists are subjective.

1) 1999 - the never to be forgotten historic treble season. The crowning glory of Fergie's reign has to be that drama filled night in Barcelona on, May 26th, 1999. Anyone who was lucky enough to be there (and those who weren't) will never forget those dramatic last few minutes of the Champions League final as United broke the hearts of Bayern Munich with two late goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær. In the minutes that followed the drama of added time, Fergie uttered those never to be forgotten words "I can't believe it. I can't believe it. Football. Bloody hell".

2) 1999 - FA Cup semi-final replay against Arsenal at Villa Park.  United have been involved in several rousing replays, but none have matched the drama of that night at Villa Park. Ryan Giggs was the hero of 10-man United after Roy Keane had been sent off and Peter Schmeichel had saved a late Bergkamp penalty. Thanks to the FA ruining their own cup, there will be no more semi-final replays.

3) 1999 - Champions League semi final 2nd leg against Juventus. Cometh the hour cometh the man.
The man that night was Roy Keane. United were two-nil down inside the first 10 minutes, but as so often happened, the captain led the fightback with a towering header. Cole and Yorke completed the job as United secured their place in the final.

4) Fergie's vow to knock Liverpool of their f***ing perch - and he did, in some style. Thank you Sir Alex. The quote: "My greatest challenge is not what's happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their fucking perch. And you can print that."

5) 1995-1996 "You'll win nothing with kids". For many, it was summer of discontent for United fans as Fergie swung the axe and out went Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis - all fans favourites. The press had a pre-season field day at United's expense. Some fans thought Fergie had lost the plot - a successful team had been torn apart and were replaced by 'Fergie's fledglings'. United lost the opening game of the new season at Villa Park and the sage that is Alan Hansen wrote off Fergie's young team with his now infamous quote "You'll win nothing with kids". United went on to overturn Newcastle's 10 point lead in the Premier League at Christmas to win the title - the gap stretched to 12 points. Fergie's ability to wind up his opponents is well documented; few will forget Kevin Keegan's public meltdown at Fergie, live on Sky Sports. United ended a memorable season and secured a league and cup double thanks to Eric Cantona's winner against Liverpool at Wembley and Man City were relegated, again. 

6) Fergie's goal celebrations. No one celebrated goals quite like Fergie and we are going to miss seeing him jump to his feet and enjoy the moment in his unique way. We canvassed Twitter to ask fans' for their favourite Fergie memories and his celebration following Paul Scholes winner against Man City in 2010 was a popular choice.
The Ginger prince gives City the coup de grâce in the Manchester derby with a glancing header.

Below: A wonderful photograph and a wonderful moment to savour.
7) 1992-1993 - Fergie's first league title win. They say winning your first league title is always the hardest and that certainly was the case for Fergie at Manchester United. United fans had to wait seven long years to secure that elusive first title win (in fact in total, it was 26 years since the club's last First Division title victory). United eventually won the title by 10 points, Aston Villa finished runner-up. Steve Bruce secured a vital win, with two late goals against Sheffield Wednesday in what later became known as 'Fergie time', however, the title was only sealed after Villa lost against Oldham.

The long wait was finally over, the scenes of jubilation inside Old Trafford have rarely been matched. That first title victory was the beginning of a wonderful period in United's history thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson.

8) Beating Chelsea in Moscow in 2008 to win his second Champions League final. Though there was a huge element of good fortune with John Terry slipping at the vital moment when taking *that* penalty, it is a never to forgot memory, because we all honestly thought United had lost the cup.

9) Fergie's press bans and his handling of the media. Plus Fergie's ability to wind up his opponents. As far as we know, Fergie is the only manager who regularly banned journalists from attending his press conferences. He famously gave John Motson a serious dressing down when telling the BBCs meek and mild MOTD reporter in no uncertain terms that "you fuc*ing know the rules here". The rant followed the termination of a post-match interview in which the United manager had been asked a question about Roy Keane who'd been sent-off for the third time during his short time with the club. Quite simply legendary. We have already highlighted Fergie's most famous wind-up which led to - Keegan's "Love it" meltdown - but there have been many wind-ups down the years: Rafa Benitez, Gerrard Houlier, Roberto Mancini and Arsene Wenger have all been on the receiving end of Fergie's set-piece jibes.

10) Fergie putting United first; his dedicated work ethic, professionalism and his insatiable appetite for winning. As far as Fergie is concerned, United came first, second and third. The interests of international managers was in truth not his problem and because of this, he was in tune with the majority of United fans. Fergie is widely acknowledged to be among the best man-managers in the history of the game - that is just one of his many managerial qualities. Fergie's work ethic is well documented and he's a winner - his record speaks for itself. Fergie set the standards and lived up to them and for that we say thank you from the bottom of our collective hearts. Thank you Fergie. Please add your own Fergie memories.