Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that he made his decision to retire as Manchester United manager at Christmas, but says he was determined to bow out a winner.
The Reds boss led the team out at Old Trafford for the final time against Swansea on Sunday and lifted his 38th trophy with the club. He was afforded a guard of honour by both teams and delivered an emotional farewell to the fans, players and staff on the pitch.
In an interview with MUTV, he talked at length about the reasons why this is the right time to call it a day. “There was always going to be a day [when I would retire], you know?” he said. “Fortunately I’m going out a winner, that’s what I always wanted to be – a winner.
“[I made my decision to retire at] Christmas,” he added. “I didn’t tell my sons until March and I only told my brother on Tuesday night. He’s not too pleased! It was Cathy, my wife, really. She lost her sister last October and has been a bit isolated. She has been the head of the family and made sacrifices for me, our three sons and our grandchildren who dote on her. And there was always going to be a time when I would have to close the book.
“It was so important to go out a winner. I was praying that we would carry on the way we were going because we were five points clear at Christmas time. We just motored on and fortunately we won it very easily.”
Sir Alex gave a moving speech on the pitch at the end of the match, but he said he had nothing pre-prepared to say. “I didn’t know what to say,” he admitted. “I was grasping at things I could possibly say. I spoke to my son Jason this morning and he said, ‘Dad, just go with the flow. Just start talking and you will get there’. I babbled on a little bit I suppose, but I got there.