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Ferguson – I decided to retire last christmas

Published 13/05/2013 | 05:00

Alex Ferguson used his last post-match interview at Old Trafford finally to lift the lid on his decision to call it a day.

"I decided I was going to retire last Christmas," he said. "Things changed when my wife Cathy's sister died. For 47 years she's been the leader of the family, looked after our three sons and sacrificed for me.

"Now she's got all the grandchildren and they all dote on her. She's lost her best friend – her sister Bridget – so I think that was important. To go out as a winner was also important."

Ferguson's departure was confirmed on Wednesday and he admitted it had become impossible to withhold the news any longer. "It was very difficult," the 71-year-old said. "We nearly blurted it out to the family, but we told our sons around March and my brother didn't even know until Tuesday night because I wanted to tell the players first.

"Unfortunately, there were rumours going around Tuesday and you never know – our club's a sieve. Stuff leaks out and it shouldn't leak out. So we then started to speed things up a bit."

Asked what he would miss most, Ferguson said: "Those last-minute goals. I loved those. We did put in a few, so it's part of the deal. When we lost the league to Manchester City last year, who suffered the most? Man City suffered the most, but it's just a part of history now.

"I've got plenty to do. My son Jason's been organising things. I won't be sitting still. My piano playing's not very good, so I'll probably need a tutor."

Irish Independent

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