What are your thoughts on the huge news today?
It’s a momentous day for the manager, for the club, all the fans and the football world. There is a tinge of sadness as a great, great manager – the like of which will never be repeated in my opinion – is stepping down after a very successful season and a very successful 26 years. There is a hint of sadness but a realisation that the time he’s chosen to move on is the right one for him and to let him make that decision.
One of the key questions is 'why now'?
I think he hinted in his statement about talking to his family and also the success he had last year but when is the right time? He felt we have had a successful season and regained the title, which was fantastic, and I think he wanted to go out on a high. Who can blame him for that? He deserves it after all the achievements of the 26 years, to go out on a high, and he felt that was right. It’s also important that he felt it was for personal reasons but also the club is in good shape in terms of the squad and other aspects of it.
How long have discussions taken place on this subject?
I don’t think I’ll go into specifics about timing. It’s clearly not an overnight decision but we’ve thought about it and looked at it really carefully. Clearly, it’s Alex’s decision and it’s been clear for many years, whenever I’ve been asked the question in interviews, that Alex will decide when the time is right for him to retire. He’s made that decision and discussed it with the people closest to him and the people within