Retirement, squeaky bums and knocking people off their perch: Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest quotes

Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary Manchester United manager, has finally decided to call it a day. After 27 years in the job, it's going to be strange to see the Old Trafford dugout sans the old man furiously chewing his gum and patrolling the touchline.

However, while the great Scot has decided to ride off into the sunset, football fans will always have his gallery of awesome quotes and soundbites to treasure - even if most of us couldn't understand a word he said underneath his thick Scottish burr.

Here, we compile his best phrases - one-liners, rants and acid put-downs.

"My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f***ing perch. And you can print that."

Ferguson, speaking on what was the main thing on his agenda when he left Aberdeen for the lure of English football. Ferguson would go on to destroy Liverpool's hold on English football, eclipsing their 18 league titles by taking United two better. One of the biggest regrets of his career, though, would be that he was unable to match the haul of five European cups.

“I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and just floated over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.”

Ferguson, describing the first time he saw Ryan Giggs. Giggs, under Fergie's tutelage, would go on to become the most decorated player in English football history.

"If he was an inch taller, he'd be the best centre half in Britain. His father is 6ft 2in — I'd check the milkman."

Ferguson, highlighting how defender and former club captain Gary Neville's lack of height robbed him of the best centreback in Britain. He also threw in voiced suspicion over Neville's parentage for good measure.

“They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages! I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!”

Ferguson, questioning Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's intelligence. Ferguson and Wenger had a bitter rivalry for close to a decade, before the relationship between the two men thawed as they became the grand old men of British football. It also helped that Arsenal ceased to become a threat on the trophy front.

"It's getting tickly now. Squeaky bum time, I call it."

Ferguson rather...err...graphically describing the close run title race of 2003. His Manchester United team and Arsenal were locked neck-and-neck in a superbly tight slog to the finish line. It was a race that would see the Red Devils eventually pip the Gunners to the English Premier League crown. It would also be United's last title for three years - Ferguson's longest trophy drought since his maiden win in the 1992-03 season.

“He was certainly full of it, calling me Boss and Big Man when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint stripper.”

Ferguson, commenting on the then-Porto manager Jose Mourinho's bad taste in wine. Mourinho would go on to manage Chelsea and be one of the very few managers to consistently outwit the Scot on the field. However, after he left Chelsea, the two men struck a great friendship, with both frequently voicing their admiration for each other.

“I think it’s important to work and I’m entitled to work. Some people do not want to work but I want to continue working. Retirement is for young people.”

"I am such a bloody talented guy. I might go into painting or something like that."

Two classic Ferguson comments on the issue of retirement, which he had been badgered about for almost a decade before he finally decided to call it a day this week.

“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. Football. Bloody hell.”

Fergie's finest moment was also the scene of his greatest quote. This is the moment that began the metamorphosis from man into legend. United were trailing 1-0 to Bayern Munich in the 1999 European Champions League final before two last gasp goals snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. United had won their first European Cup since 1968, Ferguson his knighthood and football, one of its most definitive phrases.

Goodbye, Sir Alex. Thanks for the memories. It's been a great ride.

ALSO READ: Who'll replace Sir Alex? The top five candidates


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