ALEX FERGUSON has warned young managers to learn their trade at the lower levels of football if they want to make it to the top.
Ferguson, named the League Managers Association's manager of the year for an unprecedented fourth time at an awards ceremony in London last night, said he was against "fast-tracking" of players into managers' jobs at top clubs.
The outgoing Manchester United boss started his coaching career at East Stirling before moving on to St Mirren, Aberdeen and then Old Trafford.
Ferguson said: "I'm dead against this fast-tracking of managers. Prepare, learn your trade, get your badges. Work for years at lower levels and you'll have a better chance.
"You have to earn the right to be a manager."
Ferguson also revealed his wife Cathy and children had not wanted him to take the United job after his success at Aberdeen – but he was persuaded to by Bobby Charlton.
He added: "When they first offered me the United job you jump at it. Then you think: What have I done?
"My wife didn't want to go, two of my sons didn't want to go. It was Bobby Charlton who talked me into it."
Ferguson, who also won the LMA's Premier League manager's award, added he was confident he was leaving United in good hands with David Moyes, who has won the overall LMA award three times, and with the club's emphasis on bringing through young players.
Ferguson said: "It has always placed a great emphasis on youth long before I came.
"Matt Busby started that and took Manchester United into Europe, the first English club to do so.
"It's always been there and I have tried to maintain that though it is more difficult in the present climate – you have to scout abroad now but you are still looking for young people who can do well."
Cardiff boss Malky Mackay was named the Championship manager of the season after winning the title.
England boss Roy Hodgson was elected into the LMA's 1,000 club for managers who had been in charge of 1,000 games after the body agreed to take overseas and international matches into account.
Roberto di Matteo was given a special LMA merit award for his feat in taking Chelsea to Champions League and FA Cup glory last season.