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Sir Alex Ferguson to retire as Manchester United manager

After 27 years, 894 wins, and a famous treble in 1999, Sir Alex Ferguson will step down as manager at the end of the season.
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Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson announced he will retire at the end of this year's Barclays Premier League season. (Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

It's the end of an era - and what an era it was - for Manchester United, and really, the soccer (football) world. 

Sir Alex Ferguson, 71, the UK's most successful club manager, announced Wednesday he will relinquish his rule at Old Trafford to become a club director and ambassador at the end of this year's English Premier League season. 

"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time," Ferguson said

As expected, praise has poured in for "the Scot," a man who won everything you can win - the Champions League, the FA Cup and 13 league titles. UK Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted:    

The Manchester United press office spoke for millions of United fans (and perhaps some thankful rivals) when it tweeted: 

"As for my players and staff, past and present, I would like to thank them all for a staggering level of professional conduct and dedication that has helped to deliver so many memorable triumphs," Ferguson said. "Without their contribution the history of this great club would not be as rich."

"In my early years, the backing of the board, and Sir Bobby Charlton in particular, gave me the confidence and time to build a football club, rather than just a football team," he added. 

And now cue the rumor mill. Who will be United's next manager? The Guardian voiced soccer's conventional wisdom, speculating on Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Manuel Pellegrini.

English soccer player Michael Owen had this to say:

So far Ferguson has managed 1,498 games for United, with 894 wins, 337 draws and 267 losses. His last game will bring him to the nice round number of 1,500. 

Ferguson's retirement may not be the biggest news in the US today, but in the UK, expect 3-hour specials, live blogs by major news outlets with every detail and nuance, and perhaps a few tears (over a few pints) in Manchester. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/world-at-play/sir-alex-ferguson-retire-manchester-united-manager