Following his announcement that he’s to step down as manager of Manchester United at the end of the 2012/13 season, Alex Ferguson has announced he is to take up the roles of director and ambassador for the club.
Ferguson’s decision comes just days after he secured his 13th Premier League title, and he also delivered United two European Cups, five FA Cups, four League Cups and a European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Ferguson spoke about his new role: “Going forward, I am delighted to take on the roles of both Director and Ambassador for the club. With these activities, along with my many other interests, I am looking forward to the future.”
He added: “In my early years, the backing of the board, and Sir Bobby Charlton in particular, gave me the confidence and time to build a football club, rather than just a football team.
“Over the past decade, the Glazer family have provided me with the platform to manage Manchester United to the best of my ability and I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with a talented and trustworthy Chief Executive in David Gill. I am truly grateful to all of them.
Gill, who is also set to depart from his role, is a close friend of Sir Alex and it is reported his decision to leave may have played a part in Ferguson’s retirement.
“Sir Alex has a close working relationship with David Gill and it is likely the latter’s replacement by Ed Woodward will have played a big part in his decision to retire,” Steven Falk, Director of Star Sports Marketing said.
Falk, who was also a former Marketing Director at Manchester United, suggested what Sir Alex’s new role may entail.
“While both are from a finance background, Gill is at a heart a ‘football man’ while Woodward remains true to his merchant banking background,” he said.
“Both Gill and Ferguson will sit on the club’s football board alongside Sir Bobby Charlton and Mike Edelson. This is an honorary/advisory position with no say in key matters affecting the team despite its title. The real power sits with the Glazer family whose six siblings together with Woodward constitute the main board of the club where decisions concerning commercial matters and player acquisitions are made.”
But Falk also revealed the possible commercial value of having Sir Alex as an ambassador.
He added: “Sir Alex’s role as club ambassador alongside Sir Bobby, Bryan Robson and Peter Schmeichel will be a great boost to the club’s commercial arm bringing even more substance and gravitas to the sponsorship activation team for photo calls, meet-and-greets and gala functions to represent the face of the club where first team players are not available. How Sir Alex will adapt to this new role given his historic antipathy to the club’s commercial arm remains to be seen.”
Also Manchester United shares fell in New York amid concerns over the impact Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement will have.
The news was announced while US markets were closed. When trading began the club’s shares fell as much as 4.5%.