Date: 8th May 2013 at 1:04pm
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Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates title number 20

With Manchester United confirming that Sir Alex Ferguson will retire at the end of the season, Hassanin Mubarak of Iraqifootball eulogises on Sir Alex and the awesome job he has done in his 27 years as manager of Manchester United.

I was going to write about Manchester United and question if this season’s side was the best or worst championship winning team that Fergie has put together, but with Sir Alex Ferguson astonishingly stepping down, it is the United manager that becomes the main subject of this piece.

I was one of those, who believed that Sir Alex would go on forever, he previously mentioned that he would retire just over a decade ago but went back on his word and stayed on, however it seems that 20th title was his target.

I think the 20th championship should go down as one of his greatest accomplishments as manager, further extending his own record and well and truly knocking Liverpool off their perch. But there is another poignant moment; the second place finish last year.

Why you may ask?

If Ferguson had been in charge of Man City’s star-studded squad than they would have run away with the title last season and this season. Fans and pundits have noted that the signing of Van Persie was the key difference to United winning the title this term, but I would say that it was Fergie that was the decisive factor on where the title ended up.

City’s side last season were an outstanding team, that I personally believe won the Premier League title in spite of Roberto Mancini, rather than because of the Italian manager. You have to remember that City won the title on goal difference, it was that tight, and this season with millions more thrown at the squad, the club is second and have been for most of the season.

The Abu Dhabi sheikhs have ploughed millions in the team, but still only managed to win the title on goal difference –even with the millions they have never really managed to overtake their city rivals – with their financial limitations. A testament to the work of the great man.

Ferguson managed to work within the confines of the Glazers transfer policy at Old Trafford, and build a competitive team that won titles. I truly believe that the Man Utd team which won the 20th title is one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest teams, a strong playing squad, that was both versatile and flexible, capable of winning key matches even with key players absent and not solely depended on one individual.

It is not the team that was Fergie’s fortress, but Fergie himself, he was the fortress, compact, impenetrable and ever changing to his surroundings.

But after 27 years in the hot seat at Old Trafford, what does Sir Alex Ferguson represent?

He holds the characteristics of the ultimate football manager, of the likes of Shankly, Busby, Revie, and Clough, a dying breed in today’s modern game of football coaches with their wide array of coaching badges;  Sir Alex was the man that ran everything at the clubs he presided over and made the difference.

His successor has big shoes to fill.

You can find more of Hassanin’s work at IraqSport