British press hail Man United manager Ferguson the greatest

09 May 2013 01:26

British newspapers hailed Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson as arguably the greatest football coach in the history of the game on Thursday, after he dramatically announced he was retiring after nearly 27 years in charge.

Ferguson was an exceptional personality who "could have been a great leader in any field he chose. Manchester United were lucky he chose football", the Daily Telegraph said.

Even the Financial Times led its front page with the Ferguson story, saying he had given a "26-year masterclass in dealing with clashing personalities".

The Sun made a more humourous reference to his man-management skills by giving over its entire front page to a photograph of a red hairdryer adorned with the United club badge and a smaller picture of Ferguson berating someone.

It was a reference to the manager's infamous dressing-downs of his players and referees, likened by former United striker Mark Hughes to a blast from a "hairdryer".

All the papers agreed that David Moyes was set to take on the daunting task of succeeding Ferguson, despite the fact he has not won a single trophy in 11 years managing Everton in contrast to the 38 trophies Ferguson won at United.

"Thirty-eight nil is a pasting in anyone's book," jibed The Times.

"But, rather than the more flamboyant and successful option of Jose Mourinho, Moyes, who discovered Wayne Rooney, is the heir apparent to a man worshipped by 650 million fans," it added.

Many papers said 50-year-old Moyes was being hired with the blessing of his fellow Scot Ferguson.

Ferguson, 71, was "choked" with emotion as he announced his decision to stand down to his players, then coaches and the backroom staff at United's training base on Wednesday morning, several reports said.

As thoughts turned to Ferguson's place in history, the Telegraph's football correspondent Jeremy Wilson said he was elevated above other legendary managers because he had won trophies at unfashionable Aberdeen in Scotland before joining United.

"History should remember him not just as Britain's finest football manager but the best that the world has ever seen," Wilson concluded.

Matt Dickinson of The Times recalled how journalists too were subjected to the Ferguson "hairdryer" treatment -- but marvelled at his motivational skills.

"Even as Ferguson pinned us to a wall and spewed rage over a perfectly true story, we knew that we were lucky to see him up close. Even as we loathed him, it was obvious why players would give him their all," Dickinson wrote.

Greg Dyke, the incoming chairman of the Football Association, tried to put his finger on what made Ferguson so special in a piece for the Telegraph.

"Perhaps his greatest talent, and the reason why his departure is such a great loss for English football and for the England team -- ironic given that he is Scottish -- has been his ability to bring through generation after generation of young English players," Dyke said.

Source: AFP