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Sir Alex Ferguson, the greatest manager in soccer history

May 8, 2013, 7:30 AM EDT

Manchester United's manager Alex Ferguson reacts during the English Premier League soccer match against Arsenal in London Reuters

With Ferguson now only having two more games in charge of Manchester United, now is a good time to look back at the incredible amount of success he has had at Old Trafford.

His all-time record as manager is astonishing. Since November 6, 1986, Ferguson has taken charge of 1498 games. He has won 894 of them, drawn 337 and lost just 267.

Ferguson has also led United to an incredible 38 trophies in his time at the helm, including 13 English league titles, five FA Cups, four league cups, two UEFA Champions Leagues, a FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Cup Winners Cup, Inter-Continental Cup and ten FA Community Shields.

So after that huge list of achievements and unrivalled success for over a quarter of a century, will anyone ever replicate Ferguson’s success? I doubt it.

The man is a genius. He has innovated himself and his sides several times during his tenure at United, with that perhaps his finest quality of them all. Too many times we see managers sticking steadfastly to their principles, without any inclination to change or adapt with the times.

Ferguson is stubborn, don’t get me wrong, he definitely has his mind made up with his coaching philosophy. But his ability to tweak that over the years has enabled him to replicate the incredible success year on year, decade on decade.

But something that shouldn’t be forgotten, before he arrived at United he had huge success North of the border with St. Mirren and Aberdeen. He won the Scottish First division in 1976-77 with St. Mirren and then went onto lead Aberdeen to the greatest period in the clubs history. He racked up three Scottish Premier Division titles, four Scottish Cups, a league cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

He cut his teeth in the rough and tumble of Scottish football and took that mentality with him to Manchester United. If David Moyes is to succeed Sir Alex in charge at United, that same Scottish soccer nous and toughness is sure to remain through the heart and soul of the Red Devils. The transition would be incredibly smooth if Moyes is ‘the chosen one.’

(More: Ferguson retires, who will replace him at Old Trafford?)

However, he should not be expected to replicate Ferguson, nor should anyone else for that matter. We are talking about a man who redefined the game, time and time again. A man who not only demanded success from his players, he expected it and delivered it time and time again.

Ferguson’s achievements will never be matched and his presence on the sidelines of the English game will forever be missed. Whenever I see someone viciously chewing a piece of gum or dramatically gazing and pointing at their watch, I will think of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Today is a sad day for world soccer. The man that led one of the worlds most successful clubs in the game’s modern era is stepping down. Things will never quite be the same again. Enjoy your retirement Sir Alex, you’ve earned it.

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