Fergie won't outstay United welcome
Published 05/04/2011 | 14:27
Alex Ferguson has no retirement plans in place just yet - but has admitted he would stand aside if the Manchester United hierarchy felt the manager's job was too much for him.
Ferguson celebrates his 70th birthday later this year, by which time he will have spent 25 years in the Old Trafford hotseat.
After Saturday's results went in United's favour, it also seems likely the Scot will soon become a Premier League champion for the 12th time - a number that will take the Red Devils to a record 19th title overall.
And although his thirst for trophies remains unquenched, Ferguson has admitted he would not resist if the Old Trafford powerbrokers felt he had gone on too long.
"If I was told, 'Alex, you are too old, we have decided to turn the page', no problem," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I have done my part here, with an absolutely fantastic career."
The only people with enough influence at the club to make such a seismic decision are the owners, the Glazer family, or chief executive David Gill.
Ferguson shows no signs of slowing down, however, meaning former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will have to wait if he is to fulfil his long-held desire to succeed the Scot in the Old Trafford hotseat.
"Jose is a great friend of mine," Ferguson added. "We have spoken many times about his future and I understand his wish to return to England because here a coach has more freedom than in Spain, without the constant following of the media and radio.
"But it's difficult for me to say when my position will be available.
"It will be my health that decides. I will continue until I no longer feel the energy that has always accompanied me.
"My father, who worked in the shipyards, retired at the age of 65 and one year later he was dead.
"The worst you can do is to say I have worked for 45 years and now I have a right to rest. You need to always remain active and in good form."
Ferguson is still capable of dealing with the trickiest of situations - such as Wayne Rooney's foul-mouthed outburst into a television camera at the weekend - and he continues to breathe fresh life into his squad, with Mexican striker Javier Hernandez proving to one of the bargains of the season, scoring 17 times so far.
However, it is his two remaining old stagers, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, who are giving Ferguson most to think about.
Giggs has already agreed a new one-year contract for next season, with his manager claiming the 37-year-old can go on longer even than that, while his efforts to persuade Scholes to stay on are ongoing.
"Giggs is exceptional," said Ferguson. "He can play a further two years and I will try to convince Scholes to continue too. As opposed to Giggs, he has had several injuries and problems, especially in his knees.
"He also had an eye problem that ruled him out of action for five months. He nevertheless is always ready to compete for United.
"Giggs and him are among the 10 best players in the history of Manchester United."