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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen