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39 Steps to Greatness: Alex Ferguson's game of snooker with Roy Keane and a phone call to nab Cantona

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Alex Ferguson lifts the 2010-11 Premier League trophy (Martin Rickett/PA)

Alex Ferguson lifts the 2010-11 Premier League trophy (Martin Rickett/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Alex Ferguson lifts the 2010-11 Premier League trophy (Martin Rickett/PA)

IT is a sporting life set apart from even the best of the rest.

Alex Ferguson’s journey to Old Trafford legend yielded 38 pieces of silver, ceaseless adventures and established Manchester United as the shining house on the Premier League hill.

Today, in the first of a series that borrows its title from John Buchan’s novel adapted for the screen by Alfred Hitchcock, we charter The 39 Steps that carried the Glaswegian to football’s mountain top.