I knew title was heading back to Old Trafford on first day, says Fergie after winning LMA Manager of the Year gong
Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed his satisfaction that the fanfare surrounding his retirement is over ‘because it was hard work’ and claimed he knew the title was headed back to Old Trafford before the season even started.
The outgoing Manchester United boss was named Manager of the Year at the LMA awards for a record-breaking fourth time after this season winning his 13th Premier League crown.
England manager Roy Hodgson presented the accolade to Ferguson, who spoke publicly for the first time since his final game – the thrilling 5-5 draw at West Brom. He also picked up the Premier League Manager of the Year award, which was presented by his friend Sam Allardyce.
Fitting send-off: Sir Alex Ferguson could scarcely have hoped for more from his final season in management
Ferguson described the reaction to his retirement as ‘overwhelming’ and added: ‘The club did fantastic at the Swansea game, it was brilliant. And congratulations to West Brom for the way they handled it. In a way I’m glad it’s all over because it was hard work.
‘Steve Clarke should have got this award, anyone who scores five against Manchester United deserves it. It was the perfect send-off. Five each, everyone will remember it that’s for sure.’
Asked when he knew United had won the title Ferguson replied ‘August 17’, apparently referring to the day before the start of the Premier League 2012/13 season.
He added: ‘I thought the players were really focussed. It was the disappointment. Adversity is the best recipe for success. If you’d seen our dressing room at Sunderland, the day we lost the league to Man City, you had a feeling about them.
‘There’s great character in this squad, enough experience, great resolve, and I felt we had a great chance, I really did.’
Deserving winner: Ferguson’s Manchester United team are the country’s dominant force
Fitting: The manager has retired at the top of the game
Earlier in the evening United won the Under-21 title after a 3-2 comeback victory over Tottenham at Old Trafford and Ferguson said: ‘There’s always been a great emphasis on youth, long before I came. Sir Matt started that, great era, fantastic teams, taking Man United into Europe.
‘It’s always been there and it’s been a matter of trying to maintain it. That’s not always easy in the present climate. You have to scout abroad. But we scout for young people who do well.’
Ferguson also supplied advice to retiring players and insisted they had to earn their chance in the top flight by first working in the lower leagues. ‘Prepare to be a manager,’ he said. ‘It’s no use finishing one day and being a manager the next.
‘I’m dead against fast-tracking managers in the game. You’re not doing yourselves any favours. Prepare, get your badges, work for years at lower levels and earn the right to be a manager.’
Miracle man: Phil Parkinson twice led Bradford to Wembley this season
He said he would most miss ‘those last-minute goals’ now he will no longer be in the dugout, adding: ‘I love ‘em. Even the ones we lost.
‘I look back and think you can’t get them all your way. We tried. At Sunderland we were champions for 10 seconds. Ten bloody seconds. You can’t win ‘em all. You can try to win them all but adversity is important as well.’
Ferguson beat his successor David Moyes to the Manager of the Year award, as well as Michael Laudrup and Malky Mackay. The Cardiff manager instead won the Championship award, while Gary Johnson picked up the League One crown after guiding Yeovil to the second tier for the first time in the club’s history. Martin Allen won the League Two award for taking Gilligham to the title.
Roberto Di Matteo and Phil Parkinson each won a special merit award for their achievements at Chelsea and Bradford.
LMA HONOURS’ LIST
LMA Manager of the Year – Sir Alex Ferguson CBE
LMA Special Merit Award – Roberto Di Matteo
LMA Special Merit Award – Phil Parkinson, Bradford City
LMA Service to Football Award sponsored by npower – John Bowler, Crewe Alexandra
Barclays Premier League Manager of the Year – Sir Alex Ferguson CBE
npower Football League Championship Manager of the Year – Malky Mackay, Cardiff
npower Football League 1 Manager of the Year – Gary Johnson, Yeovil Town
npower Football League 2 Manager of the Year – Martin Allen, Gillingham
Budweiser FA Cup Manager of the Year – Roberto Martinez, Wigan Athletic
LMA 1000 Club inductees – Roy Hodgson and Lawrie McMenemy MBE