Sir Alex honoured by University

Sir Alex, 69, was presented with the honorary doctorate by the

university’s deputy president and deputy vice-chancellor Professor

Rod Coombs. On receiving the accolade which also marked his

contribution to the city, Sir Alex, who took charge at Old Trafford

in November 1986, said: “I think it’s always nice to be appreciated

and recognised, and getting this recognition is testimony to all

the hard work that has gone on at Manchester United in the last 25

years, not just by me, but by everyone at the club. “The great part

for me is still to be out on the field with the players and

coaching them. As the game has changed, I have had to change with

it. For example, sports science in the last decade has seen a

phenomenal improvement and that has become a major development in

the game. “But I just don’t think about retirement any more. When

you’ve been on the treadmill for so long, 25 years in my case, and

my health is good at the moment, it’s just a matter of looking

forward to being the manager of Manchester United, rather than

worrying about Alex Ferguson. “I am enjoying it at the moment.

We’ve got a good young team and a lot of youth at the club as well

as some tremendous staff, so the future is good and I can keep

enjoying it.” Prof Coombs said: “These two-and-a-half decades of

the Ferguson era at United have coincided with – and been a big

part of – the renaissance of this city. That renaissance has been

manifest in industry, in commerce, in architecture, in the arts, in

our university, and in sport. “Of course we are blessed with two

great football clubs here, but today we are celebrating the

achievements of one manager who has made a unique contribution at

Manchester United, and through that, a unique contribution to the

city of Manchester and its prominence in the world. “Every citizen

of Manchester, every business in Manchester, and everything that

comes out of Manchester, has an extra visibility and an instant

recognition factor all over the world. The sustained success of

Manchester United is such a potent driver of that phenomenon. And

the reason it has been sustained for so long is standing here on

the platform today. His achievements are truly unique.”