Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson set for goodbye at Old Trafford
12 May 2013 08:43
Sir Alex Ferguson will be bracing himself for an emotional farewell at Old Trafford in his last home game as Manchester United boss.
Ferguson will see his team lift the Premier League trophy after playing Swansea in Sunday's Sky Live's match (kick-off 4pm on Sky Sports 1 HD) just four days after announcing he was retiring at the end of the season.
As well as celebrating a 20th title, it will be some afternoon for the United fans as they pay their respects to their outgoing manager and midfielder Paul Scholes, who has revealed he is to quit for a second time.
The 38-year-old returned to the team in January 2012 having performed a U-turn on his career but after struggling with a knee injury this year, he said: "I am finally hanging up my boots for good." Scholes is expected to make his 498th top-flight appearance against Michael Laudrup's Welsh visitors. But most of the attention will be on the manager who will be in the dug-out for the final time before David Moyes takes over for next season.
Ferguson, whose first Old Trafford game was a 1-0 win over QPR nearly 27 years ago, will be desperate for the spoils to delight the 76,000 faithful with the team needing to win their final two games to equal their highest points total in a 38-game Premier League season achieved in 1999-2000.
There have been reports that the 71-year-old might even lead the players to lift the club's and his 13th Premier League title. Sunday's match will be his 809th in the top-flight, having won 527, drawn 167 and lost 114 (win ratio is 65%.)
Ferguson, whose trophy haul at United also includes two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups, said last week: "The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time.
"It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so. "The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level whilst the structure of the youth set-up will ensure the long-term future of the club remains a bright one."
Focus will also be on Ferguson's team-sheet with doubts continuing over the future of Wayne Rooney following last week's reports that the England striker told his boss two weeks ago that he wanted to leave the club.Ferguson will share the farewell stage with Paul Scholes who will follow his manager out of the Old Trafford door at the end of this season.
"Yes I am finally hanging up my boots for good," Scholes said.
"Playing football is all I have ever wanted to do and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United, under the greatest manager of all time, has been an honour."
Injuries have hampered the veteran this season but he is set to make his 498th Premier League appearance for United against Swansea. Scholes has so far made 716 appearances for the Red Devils and scored the last of his 155 goals against Wigan last September.
"Paul is a truly unbelievable player," said Ferguson.
"He has always been fully committed to this club and it has been a real privilege to work with him for so many years.
"Paul will play at Old Trafford on Sunday against Swansea and will collect an unbelievable but well-deserved 11th Premier League medal."