Sir Alex Ferguson is simply The Godfather of football management.
It's impossible to say that he is the best manager ever, or better than a manager from another era, but for our generation, for the Premier League, he is the don.
There is really only him and my dad still going from their day. And how they both do it, amazes me. Sir Alex obviously has many qualities, but one of his finest is the way in which he has managed to move with the times, roll with the punches and adapt to the changes he has seen.
And the 25 years he has been in charge of Manchester United have seen the biggest changes to the game.
We have had the arrival of the foreign players in the Premier League, the emergence of the footballer as a celebrity and of course, most players he has to deal with now are millionaires. I bet when he started out at Aberdeen, he would never have dreamed he would end up working with players that are getting as much in a week as most people would love to earn in a year.
Sir Alex Ferguson has never lost that will to win. Of course you have to have a passion for football to be involved with it as long as he has, but it is a rare breed that can maintain that desire, keep that fire burning for so long.
Quotes of the week
Sometimes he must just sit their scratching his head in disbelief. And other times, he must want to throttle them because the modern-day footballer is not as straightforward as they were back in his day.
We all know Fergie is no shrinking violet and even when I played you could have a proper stand-up row with your boss, a real tear-up and even say some horrific things.
But you would come in, say 'Gaffer, sorry about yesterday, I was out of order' and it would be forgotten. By both player and manager, whoever was in the wrong.
You just can't do that these days, players have too much power. But somehow Sir Alex still commands the respect - and I am sure the fear - of every single player that has worked with him in his time at Old Trafford.
I am sure he has adapted his style and over the past few years, he might not necessarily have mellowed, but he seems less inclined to pick a fight. You might say it is his age catching up with him, but I am sure he can still turn the hairdryer on when he needs.
You have to know how to deal with top, top international players and his experience and his skill at reading the situation mean he now knows when it is time to be a little more tactful, perhaps.
And even having to take all that on board, he has never lost that will to win. Of course you have to have a passion for football to be involved with it as long as he has, but it is a rare breed that can maintain that desire, keep that fire burning for so long.
I bet you the minute that final whistle went in the Champions League final last season, he was already thinking how he could make Manchester United better, or at least move them closer to, Barcelona.
I know that is something that is engrained in you. I know my dad has it and it is particularly poignant at this moment in time, because you do wonder if that passion will ever diminish.
Maybe it is being around young players that keeps Sir Alex going as well. There has been no-one better at bringing kids through and giving them their chance and I can imagine he gets so much pride, so much excitement from working every day with the Gary Nevilles, David Beckhams, the Paul Scholes, the Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooneys as they were growing up - and turning into top, top footballers.
It does help when you can spot a player like he can. But let's be honest, no-one really has - or has had - an eye for a player like him. It's not just all those kids that have come through the system at Manchester United, but the players he has bought as well.
Yes he pays big money for some of them, but that's not as easy as it sounds. And it certainly isn't easy playing for Manchester United, no matter how good you are. What Sir Alex has a real gift for is spotting the right temperament, the right attitude in a player. Wayne Rooney and one of his newest signings, Phil Jones, show you that after all these years he still has that incredible knack.
I came across Sir Alex plenty of times when I was a player but I will always remember when I played at Old Trafford with Spurs in 2004. We'd got beat 3-0 and I'd come on as a sub. Afterwards I was stood in the tunnel with him and turned round to him and said 'that number seven can play a bit', and he just said 'he'll be the best in the world in a few years'.
This lad had everything going for him, yet at the time everyone had him down as a showpony and in fact, people were slagging him off rotten. That player was of course Cristiano Ronaldo. Even back then Sir Alex just knew he had bought a special player with a big future.
The highest compliment I can pay Sir Alex Ferguson though, is that if I could change one thing in my career, it was that he had managed Liverpool.
Before people start going mad, I meant instead of joining United when he left Aberdeen, because of course, once he had been at Old Trafford that could never have happened!
It is no disrespect to any of the managers I played for either but I always felt we had the talent to win the Premier League. He would have got that out of us because he is a winner, simple as that.
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Red Devil (Manchester United fan) says...
Most fans outside United call Sir Alex all the names under the sun but will never acknowledge that they would have loved to have had him as their manager knowing what they know now. His managerial record speaks for itself and his continued enthusiasm - even if it goes over the top at times - is amazing for a man of his years. 25 years at 1 club is an astonishing achievement and to do it at United is just remarkable considering the pressure and the expectation which surrounds the club. So CONGRATULATIONS Sir Alex! Now if only you could do another 25 years?
Posted 13:16 7th November 2011
Lee H (Liverpool fan) says...
Shankly will always be the greatest in my eyes for not only winning trophies but for what he done for liverpool... catching peoples hearts and changing the way of the dressing room and management.. raising that bar... he set the tone but none the less what alex has done is pure class.. in his era any club can look on in pure jealousy.. hats off to him and what he has produced is a great future for utd even when he leaves.. its great to say yopu were there when such legends played a part .. Shankly number 1
Posted 12:36 7th November 2011
Nick Musto (Manchester United fan) says...
Hi jamie i dont think they is any doubt that Sir Alex is a great manager, his desire to win every season and take MUFC to the next level is unreal and i dont think we will see another manager like him. i am a huge football fan i do admire the work harry is doing at spurs but i dont think any manager will get the time Sir Alex got to build a team they is just too much money involved now. MUFC forever
Posted 00:42 7th November 2011
Paul Henderson (Manchester United fan) says...
Alex Ferguson what can you say, to achieve what he as and to do it with two clubs. People tend to overlook what he achieved at Aberdeen. That in itself would have satisfied most managers, but oh no not Alex. Twenty Five Years at any Football club is amazing. To do this at such a high profile club has Manchester United is incredible. There are times when you simply have to say The Best
Posted 06:58 6th November 2011
Anthony Carroll (Arbroath fan) says...
As per usual Jamie, you had to start with a negative when it comes to United...If people can say Messi can become the best player of all time...Then we can EASILY without doubt say Sir Alex Ferguson is THE BEST MANAGER FOOTBALL has every known...GENUIS..
Posted 19:46 5th November 2011
Torsken Gjett (Leeds United fan) says...
Only one Don Revie
Posted 18:36 5th November 2011
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