May 8 - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson will retire at the end of the season after more than 26 years in charge, bringing to a close the most glittering managerial career in British soccer. Ivor Bennett looks at the impact his move will have on one of the world's richest and best known sporting clubs.
It was making the headlines before it was even announced - and this time, the rumours were true. Alex Ferguson is stepping down as Manchester United manager at the end of the season, after 26 years in charge. To say it's the end of an era is no understatement. He's British football's longest serving manager, AND the most successful. His retirement has shocked fans around the world. SOUNDBITE (English) SHAHIED MOTAN SAYING: "I don't think anybody can ever replace him" (SOUNDBITE) (English) 35-YEAR-OLD MANCHESTER UNITED FAN, NELSON NG, SAYING: "I guess it's a shock to the world. Although there has been rumours coming out, no one expected it to be so sudden." (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) COORDINATOR OF INDONESIA MANCHESTER UNITED FANS, ARI HARYANTO, SAYING: "It is a great loss for Manchester United and for Manchester United fans." Ferguson's won an unparalleled 38 trophies while at Manchester United - this season's premier league his latest triumph. During his tenure, the club's gone from an also-ran to the dominant force in English football, and was twice champions of Europe. Football finance expert Sue Bridgewater says his impact shouldn't be underestimated. SOUNDBITE (English) DR SUE BRIDGEWATER, FOOTBALL FINANCE EXPERT, WARWICK UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "Charismatic, visionary leaders play important parts in an organisation. There's no doubt at all that Alex Ferguson has embedded a culture, a way of working, and has played a very pivotal role in the success of Manchester United." Ferguson's success was the driving force behind the club's 2.6 billion dollar listing on the New York Stock Exchange last year. Now he's going, shareholders are starting to get nervous. The club's pricing dropped slightly after the announcement as speculation grew about Ferguson's replacement. Josh Raymond at City Index says the stock could drop more if the right man's not found. SOUNDBITE (English) JOSH RAYMOND, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, CITY INDEX, SAYING: "I think in the longer term there will certainly be a market reaction. Because all of it is obviously done in terms of how the business performs. Man United is a listed business as well as a sports club. The revenue side of it is dictated by how they perform on the field. So a quality replacement is needed for Sir Alex Ferguson and that will help to calm some of the shareholder uncertainty that we've seen this morning." At 71, Ferguson's retirement has been long time coming. Bookmakers have been taking bets on his replacement for over a decade. The latest favourites are Everton manager David Moyes and Real Madrid's former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. Whoever gets the job, one things for sure - they'll have big shoes to fill.