Gill on Fergie’s successor

Ferguson celebrated 25 years in the United hotseat on Sunday. It is

a quite incredible achievement that drew widespread appreciation

from across the game. As Ferguson has shown no inclination to

surrender his position, the search for a successor has yet to

begin. However, when it does, Gill has highlighted some

non-negotiable requirements the new man must meet. “It will be

difficult to replace him – it’s naive to say anything other than

that,” Chief executive Gill told MUTV. “But we are a great club

whose values go back in history to our heritage to the ’50s and

’60s and the last 25 years with Alex. “To continue with that, the

new manager needs to understand those values and the vision for the

club and must buy into that.” As he approaches his 70th birthday on

New Year’s Eve, no-one could accuse Ferguson of concentrating on

his immediate priority of withstanding the challenge posed by

Manchester City at the expense of United’s future. In Phil Jones,

Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley, Ferguson has

integrated a quartet of young English players to his squad this

season that could provide a platform for United over the next

decade. “The important point to make is the new manager, whenever

that may be and whomever that may be, will be taking over a great,

great club, in a great, great sport and Alex, in particular, will

want to make sure he inherits a great squad,” said Gill. “That’s

our goal – to make sure when the new manager comes in he does have

a great squad to work with in terms of age and profile.” The

chances of Ferguson’s replacement emulating the Scot’s success – 12

Premier League titles and two European Cups – is remote, though.

And Gill feels Ferguson’s work goes far beyond that. “Alex’s legacy

to United is to my mind very clear – delivering an unprecedented

period of success in the Manchester United way,” he said. “By that,

I mean attractive football using young players – both homegrown and

buying players when necessary like Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne

Rooney, but actually developing our own players. “That record is

there for everyone to see and that legacy is very clear also.

“Within that, he’s made sure he’s cemented United’s position as one

of the top clubs in world football. “We’re very well respected

clearly in this country and around the world. You only have to see

our following there on tour in America and Asia, plus in Europe

when you speak to any other club. “United are rightly held in very

high esteem down in no small measure to what Alex has achieved in

the last 25 years.”