Five more artefacts from Sir Alex's epic career
Here we present part two of our Sir Alex Ferguson birthday feature, recalling his Manchester United career with the aid of memorabilia from the club's museum and his own private collection.
In part one, we covered the first seven years from his debut fixture as United boss in 1986 through to the first Premier League title in 1993.
The story continues, naturally, with the Double-winning campaign of 1993/94.
6. THE MANAGER OF THE YEAR 1994
The inaugural Manager of the Year award was presented to Alex Ferguson for retaining the title in the historic 1993/94 Double-winning season. With the addition of Roy Keane to the squad, Peter Schmeichel already established in goal and Ryan Giggs emerging successfully from a group that would later be known as the Class of 92, United’s form in the Premier League was superb. By Christmas, the Reds secured a 13-point gap at the top of the table, eventually winning the campaign eight points clear of runners-up Blackburn Rovers. The ride in the FA Cup proved to be a bumpier one. With the campaign saved by a brilliant volley from Mark Hughes in the dying seconds of the semi-final, the Reds travelled to Wembley to face Chelsea. On the day of the final, two penalties from Cantona gave the Reds the confidence to eventually beat the London club 4-0 and become Double winners for the first time in the club’s history.
7. THE TREBLE MEDALS
Three years after his young side defied a pundit's statement that “you can’t win anything with kids'' to win another Double in 1996, Sir Alex's men went one better to claim an unprecedented Treble. These three medals were presented to the manager over an 11-day period at the end of a remarkable 1998/99 campaign. The team embodied the never-say-die attitude of its manager in a season full of intense drama, memorable goals and back-from-the-dead victories. A wonder goal from Giggs in the FA Cup semi-final replay against Arsenal, Solskjaer’s late winner against Liverpool, and two goals in stoppage time in Barcelona have since become an integral part of United’s folklore.
Following the dramatic events in Barcelona and the Treble triumph, the great Scot received a knighthood for his services to football and became Sir Alex. Having joined the elite group of sports personalities to be awarded with the title, he went down in history as the only manager to win the Premier League, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League in one season.
9. MINIATURE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TROPHY 2007/08
Following a swashbuckling campaign in the Premier League, the Reds retained the title and travelled to Moscow to face Chelsea in the Champions League final. This miniature trophy was presented to Sir Alex following a nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out, in which van der Sar’s sudden-death penalty save sealed the Scot’s second success in the competition with the Reds. The memorable night in Russia also marked another great milestone in United’s history as the manager's most famous youth-system graduate Ryan Giggs made his club-record 759th appearance.
10. PREMIER LEAGUE MEDAL 2012/13
After initially announcing his retirement in 2001, Sir Alex remained in United’s hot seat for another 12 years. In his final season with the Reds, he led the club to a record 20th league title. This medal was presented to the manager following his final Old Trafford fixture on 12 May 2013. The longest serving and the most successful boss in the club’s history, Sir Alex managed the Reds for a total number of 1,500 competitive matches. During the course of his spell at Old Trafford, he won 38 trophies, including 13 out of a possible 21 Premier League titles. It was an epic reign that established United as the giants of English football and a true global superpower, supported by millions of fans around the world.
Happy birthday Sir Alex...and Happy New Year!