Soccer-Reaction to Ferguson's retirement as United manager

MANCHESTER, England Wed May 8, 2013 5:59am EDT

MANCHESTER, England May 8 (Reuters) - Reaction to Wednesday's announcement by Premier League champions Manchester United that manager Alex Ferguson will retire at the end of the season:

David Gill, Manchester United chief executive, in a statement: "We knew that his retirement would come one day and we both have been planning for it by ensuring the quality of the squad and club structures are in first-class condition. What he has done for this club and for the game in general will never be forgotten. It has been the greatest experience of my working life being alongside Alex and a great honour to be able to call him a friend."

Joel Glazer, Manchester United co-owner, in a statement: "Alex has proven time and time again what a fantastic manager he is but he's also a wonderful person. His determination to succeed and dedication to the club have been truly remarkable. I will always cherish the wonderful memories he has given us, like that magical night in Moscow (2008 Champions League final win)."

Paul Ince, former Manchester United player, to Sky Sports News: "The man was immense. I'm totally shocked. What's he's done is unbelievable. You'll never see anyone of his kind again. Two weeks ago he was talking about staying on for another two years, so it's a massive, massive shock. The way he treated me was like a son."

Dwight Yorke, former Manchester United player, to Sky Sports News: "He took the footballing world by surprise in retiring. With his hip replacement, and with David Gill going as well, that probably pushed him a bit into thinking he was going to retire. He wanted to regain the Premiership this year; he's done it, In many respects it's probably the right time to go. It will take some getting used to."

Sean Bones, vice-chairman of Manchester United Supporters' Trust, to Sky Sports News: "We are all shocked...he's irreplaceable and he could continue for another five years but he deserves some retirement."

Clayton Blackmore, former Manchester United player, to BBC Radio 5 Live: "It comes with a heavy heart. We have heard the rumours and the papers speculating, and I didn't want to believe it as he has done such a fantastic job and we wanted to keep him there. He deserves his time to sit back and enjoy what he has done. It is going to be emotional on Sunday. I'm sure the manager knows who will replace him and he will have his say. It would not surprise me if David Moyes takes over."

Vincent Kompany, Manchester City captain, on Twitter: "Sir Alex, one of the best managers of all time. After 26 years of success in the game, we all owe him a tribute."

Michael Owen, former Manchester United striker, on Twitter: "It's just not sinking in! Manchester United with no Sir Alex just doesn't feel right. What a man and great that it has ended on his terms...his record will surely never be eclipsed. He and the squad had planned to go to Chester Races today. Surely there will be a U-turn? Could be the biggest media circus ever if not!"

Dennis Irwin, former Manchester United player, to MUTV: "It's a sad day for Manchester United. It's a day we should celebrate what he's done for Manchester United. It was always going to come as a shock. Without doubt the best manager that's ever lived."

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