Neville backs Ferguson for another decade at United - Premier League - Football - The Independent

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."

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week