WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

The extracts on this page are taken from selected national newspapers. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United.

07/11/2011 10:08

Papers: Reds' secret mission

Jeremy Cross writes in the Daily Star...

Fergie: United's secret mission
Sir Alex Ferguson was kept in the dark over his special 25th anniversary present from Manchester United thanks to a top-secret operation. Fergie was left stunned before United’s clash with Sunderland on Saturday when the club renamed the Old Trafford north stand as the ‘Sir Alex Ferguson Stand’. The United boss has prided himself on knowing absolutely everything that goes on at the club during his trophy-laden quarter of a century in charge. But for once he was completely caught out. Chief executive David Gill and eight others knew and they were sworn to secrecy. Once official club tours of the stadium stopped on Thursday, workers sprang into action. Six abseilers erected the new sign, working until 2am. All those involved were ordered to sign a strict confidentiality agreement. The letters were put up three at a time before a 20-metre banner was draped over them saying ‘Old Trafford, Manchester’ in the same design as before to put Fergie off the scent. Sunderland boss and former United captain Steve Bruce said: "The tribute of naming the stand after him, I’ve never known anything at Manchester United be kept secret like that. It’s remarkable, and quite fitting too. I didn’t know anything about it. Neither did he. I’ve just said to him he’s taking his finger off the pulse!"

Stories on the renaming of the North Stand and Sir Alex's 25th anniversary in general dominate, with columnists in unanimous agreement that the gesture was well deserved. Eric Cantona is quoted in The Sun on his former boss. "Season after season he gets stronger and stronger," the United legend says. "Even though he is getting older every year he still has the energy of a young man."

Several papers mention Nemanja Vidic's backing for his central defensive partner Rio Ferdinand following the win over Sunderland.

As for transfer rumours, the Daily Mail claims "United are closing in on a deal for PSV Eindhoven’s Brazilian-born midfielder Andreas Pereira".

MoreWatch video of Sir Alex's surpriseView pics of the manager's special day

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