The reaction: Sir Alex Ferguson retires after 27 years at Man Utd

The 71-year-old Scot announced this morning that he will stand down

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel has described Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to retire as manager as a “bombshell” and that he “can't make sense of the timing”.

Ferguson today announced he would leave his position, but stay on as a director and ambassador after 26 years in charge at Old Trafford and the Dane who played under the Scot for nine years could not believe that the 71-year-old was leaving his position.

"I'm shocked - I just can't make sense of the timing," he told Sky Sports News. "It has come as a bombshell, I really don't know what to make of it.

"Yesterday I was really happy with what he had done this season, now this, I'm disappointed and very sad.

"He's always said the day would come when something in his life wasn't right, is it is hip operation (he will have this summer)? I can't see him retiring over that.

"(Until) he explains why, we can guess and guess.

"There is something there we don't know about, he won't retire for the sake of retiring, it is difficult to makes sense of it."

Schmeichel paid tribute to Ferguson's man management skills and the time he came to the stopper, just hours after being told he would not be signing for United.

"The thing about Sir Alex is that 95 per cent of players brought in he's been scouting them for a long time, and he handles personalities around football, for example the media, stuff like that very, very important to him.

"Everyone wants a bit of Manchester United, everywhere you go, you are Manchester United.

"My move didn't happen first time, it happened 12 months later. But the first time, he came over to Denmark, I met him at someone's house and it was him saying 'I just want you to develop I will come back in the summer', and he flew back to Manchester.

"That's the kind of guy he is, he knows what he wants, he knew I would work in the team."

Schmeichel however believes Moyes would be a good fit as a successor as he has proved he can stay at one club for a long time, spending 10 years at Everton.

"What we are looking for is, not someone to come in 10 months or three years, we want someone to come stay there and give stability," he added.

"When we talk about Moyes, he has been a decade at Everton and done a fantastic job on limited funds.

"Is he cut from the same cloth? I dont know. Don't forget there will be major changes with David Gill stepping down - the club is really changing in the summer, the more stability they can add the better.

"David Moyes, he sounds like a good solution."

Football Association chairman David Bernstein hailed Ferguson's contribtion to the game.

He said: "Sir Alex Ferguson's achievements are truly remarkable - he is genuinely one of the greatest managers of all time and certainly of the modern era.

"His contribution to English football has been outstanding in every regard and, in the FA's 150th year, it is something that should be celebrated.

"On behalf of the FA I'd like to wish him a happy and healthy retirement."

First-team coach Rene Meulensteen was told of Ferguson's plans this morning and felt the news was not entirely unexpected.

"(I found out) this morning when I came to the club," he said on Sky Sports News. "He called us into his office and he said what decision he took.

"It's always been on the cards - there's speculation every season. I think the manager kept his cards close to his chest. I think he felt the time was right now and he made a decision.

"He's obviously a man who thinks very, very well so I'm sure he's taken a lot of thought into making this decision.

"I wish him well. He's been fantastic for this club and I hope all the fans give whoever's going to come in the same support that he gets."

The Dutchman added: "We've responded really well to the big disappointment we had last year. There was a determination around the whole place - especially around the manager - and I think he's been delighted we won the title the way we did."

Asked who should replace Ferguson, Meulensteen joked: "(Club mascot) Fred the Red!"

UEFA president Michel Platini hailed Ferguson as "a true visionary".

Platini said: "Sir Alex has made a massive contribution to football, not only in Scotland and in England, but across Europe and beyond.

"His dedication, his attention to detail and his unique eye for talent, as both the manager of Manchester United FC and Aberdeen FC, has brought rich rewards over a 30-year period.

"His CV is almost unique in a results-based profession that normally focuses on short-term solutions rather than long-term vision.

"He is a true visionary and I hope that, having helped us in the past through various coaching initiatives, he will continue to collaborate with UEFA to share his fantastic knowledge with the next generation of up-and-coming European coaches who all wish to emulate his achievements in the sport."

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said Ferguson's "drive, ambition, skill, passion and vision" have forever altered the landscape of football.

"The Premier League has had the privilege to witness many great players, managers and teams. No one has made as great a contribution to the Premier League than Sir Alex Ferguson," said Scudamore.

"His drive, ambition, skill, passion and vision have not only shaped Manchester United, but in many ways the game of football as we now know it.

"Sir Alex and his teams during the Premier League era have set the pace others have had to follow; 13 titles out of 21 seasons is a phenomenal achievement. What always stood out though was the reaction to missing out, personified in this season's campaign.

"His ability to adapt as the game progressed, developing players from within Manchester United's youth set-up and integrating them with some of the world's finest talent created many formidable teams playing some wonderful football.

"He is universally respected by his peers right across the world game and I am sure that even fans of rival clubs will appreciate how remarkable his many achievements have been.

"It was always unrealistic to expect Sir Alex to keep going forever, but he has built something substantial and lasting at Manchester United and his values will continue to resonate throughout the club for many years to come. That will be his permanent legacy to English football.

"Whatever the Premier League has become, Manchester United is its standard bearer and Sir Alex their talisman. Whatever the future holds, one thing is for certain, it will not be the same without him."

PA

Further reading
United hope to appoint Moyes by end of the week
Sam Wallace: What next for United after Ferguson?
His best XI during his reign
His 13 titles remembered
Season-by-season guide
Players pay tribute
Ferguson’s statement in full

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor