Editorial: The third age of Fergie begins

In temperament Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson belonged to an earlier age of managers, when character and place were dominant

When Sir Alex Ferguson walks away from the touchline for the last time, an era in English football will have ended.

He was a big presence for a big club in the big league, enjoying a longevity in the job that has eluded all his peers. He departs as the most successful manager in the British game, ever.

It is a record that others will find hard, if not impossible, to equal. Sir Alex spanned two ages of football; in temperament, he belonged to an earlier age of managers, when character and place were dominant; he had to adapt to an age in which football – courtesy of satellite TV – has become a global commodity, a team is a brand, and the language is money. His stubbornness, irascibility and passion prompted excesses for which his stature too often bought him a free pass. Manchester United is now a name that enjoys instant recognition from Brooklyn to Beijing; that of “Fergie” is not far behind.

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