Sat, May 18, 2013 - Page 20 News List

Ferguson eager to sign off with win at The Hawthorns

AFP, MANCHESTER, England

Alex Ferguson says the fire to win is still burning ahead of his last ever game as manager of Manchester United against West Bromwich Albion tomorrow.

The Scot will take charge of his final game as his side visit The Hawthorns in what will also be his 1,500th game in charge of the club.

He says he wants to win it even more than last Sunday’s farewell game at Old Trafford, when United beat Swansea City 2-1 thanks to a late Rio Ferdinand goal.

“Now the match on Sunday, 1500 games, it has been quite incredible,” said Ferguson, in his last-ever weekly press conference.

“It could not be more difficult. West Brom have done terrific this season and they [United’s players] will want to win this one more than last week’s, even, so hopefully we can do that,” he said.

Ferguson says he will be keeping himself busy outside of soccer when he finally ends his 26-and-half-year reign at United.

Asked to divulge his immediate plans, he revealed that he has a League Managers’ Association (LMA) meeting on Monday, followed by two days at Newmarket races.

The 71-year-old Scot will then go on holiday, before returning for a hip operation in early August.

“I am driven to take on challenges in other ways. I’ve got the LMA meeting on Monday, going to Newmarket, as I have a share in the horse Telescope, then I go on holiday on June 4 for a month, then I have an operation, then the recovery, and then the season starts,” he said.

“It is going to be a different life. It’s almost 40 years as a manager,” the Scot said.

Ferguson could not pick a favorite memory from his time at United and said the whole experience had been an incredible journey.

“The memories are all there — 26 years at Manchester United is fantastic, just the whole thing,” he said.

“When I came here I was privileged and the day I left I was honored. Being here is a thing to be proud of,” Ferguson said.

He did concede that the game has changed significantly since his first job as a manger back in 1974 with Scottish side East Sterlingshire.

Ferguson went on to manager St Mirren and Aberdeen and had a brief spell as Scotland manager at the 1986 World Cup before taking charge of United in November of that year.

“It is inevitable that change comes around, you have to manage that,” he said. “There has been big changes in terms of number of staff, sports science and technology that has come in.”

“When I started there were no agents, media was different then, too, and no freedom of contract,” the Scot said.

“Changes have been there and I have integrated into them. I don’t think I’ve changed much,” he said.

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