Neville backs Ferguson for another decade at United

Sir Alex Ferguson has not considered retirement once since changing his mind on his decision to leave Old Trafford in 2002, and even on the cusp of his 20th anniversary as Manchester United manager his focus remains fixed on the future - as Gary Neville has emphasised by claiming the 64-year-old may remain in his post for the next decade.

With a prediction that will enthral his followers and appal his detractors in equal measure, the United captain insisted Ferguson is intent on bringing his latest exciting team to fruition in both the Premiership and Champions' League and, with eight League titles, five FA Cups and a European Cup on his CV, had earned the right to depart on a date and in a manner of his choosing.

"Why should he leave? He feels as determined as ever," said Neville. "It is a continual challenge to be at this club and that will keep him young. He knows how to make the club successful. We have been developing a new side with a lot of young players and, hopefully, this season we can bear the fruits of that. It would not surprise me if he went on for another five to 10 years. It would be great to get to the end of my career under one manager."

As a first-team regular for 14 years and a lifelong United supporter, Neville is well-placed to assess the impact Ferguson has had on Old Trafford since his arrival and, while he unsurprisingly cites the treble of 1999 as the Scot's greatest achievement - "Probably the greatest by any club in English football," he claimed - the 31-year-old credits the manager's ruthlessness with transforming the nature and image of the club.

"When he first came here, Norman Whiteside and Paul McGrath were heroes to Manchester United fans but they left soon after he arrived. He changed the culture of the club," said Neville. "There is no sentiment and that has ensured his continued success. He almost sees the end for players before they see it themselves and 100 per cent of the time he has been proved correct.

"What Alex Ferguson did was to take the club to a level it should be at, winning championships and FA Cups and being involved in the European Cup. He will tell you himself that this is the minimum of what this club should achieve. It is disgraceful to think that this club did not win the League for 26 years. It is an embarrassment with the resources available."

Despite their lengthy relationship, Neville admits he is not close to the United manager. Nevertheless, he knows a different side to Ferguson from his gruff public image.

He said: "Certainly as a young player, you are wary of him and when he walks in the room everybody does go a bit quiet. There is an aura about him. But when you have been at United for 14 years, you do recognise the personal side to him. I wouldn't say I am close to him but I know I can go into his office and see him.

"If you are in trouble, that is the door you knock on. You might have something in your personal life and he will listen. That's where he wins respect. People looking in might think he has got performances out of his players through fear but it's more than that. He has been a father figure to his players."

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'