• Premier League

Ex-players pay tribute as Fergie statue is unveiled

ESPN staff
November 23, 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson's statue was unveiled on Friday © PA Photos

Sir Alex Ferguson pronounced himself a proud man after a statue of him was unveiled by his wife, Lady Cathy Ferguson, at Old Trafford.

The Manchester United manager paid tribute to his players as many of his past greats joined his current squad for a ceremony.

The statue, made by sculptor Philip Jackson and showing Ferguson with his arms folded, is outside the North Stand, which was renamed the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand to mark the 25th anniversary of his appointment in 1986.

Former players including Eric Cantona, Andy Cole, Denis Irwin, Gary and Phil Neville, Bryan Robson, Peter Schmeichel, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Edwin van der Sar and Dwight Yorke were present while Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham pre-recorded tributes apologising for their absence.

Ferguson said: "It is a proud moment. It has been an incredible journey I have had at the club. I have managed so many great players and it is through them I am here today. They should build a statue for all of them.

"They have been fantastic players to have, a marvellous bunch, and I have been very privileged to deal with such great players from 1986 through to today. They have given us all enormous pleasure."

The United manager also joked: "Normally people die before they get a statue. I am outliving death."

Ronaldo congratulated the Scot and said: "Well done for what you have done. I think you deserve this 100%."

Ferguson's first captain Robson was among others to pay tribute, adding: "The boss has probably got the best club manager's record ever in the world."

And Michael Carrick stated on MUTV that Ferguson, who has won 37 trophies for United, including two Champions Leagues and 12 Premier League titles, is "probably the best manager of all time."

Other tributes to Sir Alex Ferguson

David Beckham: "It's an amazing day for you and Manchester United. I want to say thank you for everything you have done for me. My time at Manchester United was without doubt the best in my career."

Eric Cantona: "I think in five years' and ten years' time he will be stronger than today."

Michael Carrick: "His record is incredible. To be at this great club for such a length of time is fantastic. Only he has ever done that and I don't think it will ever be done again. He is probably the best manager of all time." Andy Cole: "He represents Manchester United. It is a great honour to have played for him. To be at any club as long as he has has to be classed as phenomenal."

Patrice Evra: "They should have done it a long time ago for what he has done for the club and what he has achieved. It is just a privilege to me playing for him and Manchester United."

Darren Fletcher: "A statue is thoroughly deserved. He has been a massive influence on the club as it is today."

Ryan Giggs: "His enthusiasm is as great as when I met him."

Bryan Robson: "The boss has probably got the best club manager's record ever in the world."

Cristiano Ronaldo: "Well done for what you have done. I think you deserve this 100%. I wish I could have been there. For the young players to work with a coach like him is a dream."

Wayne Rooney: "It was only a matter of time before a statue went up of him. The success he has brought to the football club is brilliant. It was the least they could do for him."

Peter Schmeichel: "He believes in himself and he is just an incredible manager."

Paul Scholes: "He has completely changed around the fortunes of the club. It is a great honour for him and well deserved. Someone is going to have to come in one day and manage this team and if they do half as well as he has done, they will be successful."

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