The Rundown

Shocks of the Year #6: Alex Ferguson walks away from the game

This year, sport has been rocked by a string of incredible happenings across all sports.

The Rundown has picked out the biggest seven stories among the multitude of scandals, surprises, outrages, revelations and horrors that we've seen in 2013, and will be counting them down between Christmas and New Year.

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Shocks of the Year #6: Alex Ferguson walks away from the game

It was a day every Manchester United fan knew had to come, but when the news finally arrived on May 8th it still left football stunned.

Fergie was already a part of the game’s history, a knight of the realm with a bronze statue and a stand named after him – yet even in his 70s he maintained his relevance, his importance and most of all his success.

After 27 years, it was impossible to conceive of a Manchester United dugout without the gum-chewing, puce-faced genius who had led United to the single greatest period of dominance in the history of the English game.

Liverpool under Shankly and Paisley might have scaled greater heights in Europe, but Ferguson’s 13 league titles in 20 years is a feat of sustained brilliance that we may never see repeated.

When you look at how he willed a deeply flawed squad to their last championship under his stewardship, it is hardly surprising David Moyes has found his job beyond impossible. Wayne Rooney moped, defenders dropped down injured and Michael Carrick waged a one-man war in midfield.

But somehow, for Fergie, it didn’t matter. Some of his tactics, team selections and transfers would have caused open mutiny among other fan bases. Think Marouane Fellaini’s bad? How about David Bellion, Eric Djemba-Djemba or the incomparable Bebe?

But winning cures everything, and nobody knew how to win better than Fergie.

Alex Chick