ManchesterUnited former stars to attend statue unveiling

23 November 2012 07:47

Eric Cantona and Ruud van Nistelrooy will be amongst the most notable guests at the unveiling of a statue in honour of Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford today.

United commissioned award-winning sculptor Philip Jackson to create the nine-foot bronze statue which will be placed outside the stand that already bears Ferguson's name.

The precise details of the statue are yet to be revealed but Ferguson recently inspected it himself and declared himself satisfied.

His longevity at Old Trafford is encapsulated by the guests who will be in attendance. In addition to Cantona, who signed for United almost 20 years ago, and Van Nistelrooy, who scored 150 goals in five seasons but has never been back to the club since he was sensationally jettisoned in 2006, Ferguson's first captain, Bryan Robson, will be there, plus Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United's entire first-team squad will also be present, as will England coach and long-time Red Devil Gary Neville.

And tributes ahead of the ceremony had been pouring in. Yesterday it was former Prime Minister Tony Blair, today it is Arsene Wenger, with whom Ferguson has had so many battles down the years.

The Frenchman said: "I don't remember anybody else being at the top level for such a long time. In some ways it is scary because when this guy leaves the club, no matter the quality of who comes in after him, it will be a huge hole.

"The club will be destabilised even if the guy who comes after him is top quality because the print of everything, the life of everything, revolves around Ferguson so much at Manchester United. He has to be immortal so the club doesn't suffer!

"His commitment is always there, you never feel it is weakened. What I admire maybe the most in him is his forward-thinking. He is always ready to move with the times and never speaks about what he has done before.

"He knows when to renew the team, when you have to make changes, and that is exceptional because you can sometimes be a little bit lazy when you have so much success. He's never been like that, he's always on his toes and he can renew what is needed, when it is needed."

Source: PA