60 Glorious Photos Of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25 Imperious Years At Manchester United

Chris Wright

5th, November 2011


By Chris Wright

Sir Alex Ferguson, a man who turns 70 on New Year’s Eve, celebrates 25 years as manager of Manchester United on 6th November (tomorrow), so we thought we’d mark this truly astounding milestone and all the incredible accomplishments therein with a suitably colossal retrospective photo essay of the Scot’s time at Old Trafford…

45-year old Ferguson poses in the colours of his new side after being appointed Manchester United manager following the sacking of Ron Atkinson, November 1986


Following a disastrous run of results that began with a 5-1 defeat to Manchester City at Maine Road (perish the thought) in September, a banner was draped at Old Trafford which read ‘Three years of excuses and it’s still crap, Ta ra Fergie!’, December 1989

A relieved Ferguson celebrates with his players after Mark Robins’ goal saw United beat Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, January 1990. Legend has it that, after three trophyless years in the job, defeat at the City Ground would have cost Ferguson his job. Several well-placed sources (including then-Chairman Martin Edwards) have openly debunked the story, though the rumour still persists

Ferguson, along with his assistant manager Archie Knox and head coach Brian Kidd, leap off the bench as Lee Martin scores his one and only goal for United during the FA Cup final replay against Crystal Palace, May 1990. United won 1-0 and Ferguson secured the club’s first trophy since his appointment

Along with a seething Brian McClair, Ferguson is forcibly restrained at the side of the pitch during the brutal ‘Battle of Old Trafford’ game against Arsenal, Oct 1990

Ferguson sits with a pipe-toting Sir Matt Busby as legendary United managers past and present chat in Rotterdam before United’s European Cup Winners Cup game against Barcelona, May 1991

Ferguson parades the European Cup Winners Cup trophy around the pitch after two goals from Mark Hughes saw United beat Barcelona 2-1 on the night, May 1991

Ferguson poses in Red Square with St Basil’s Cathedral in the background while touring the Russian capital ahead of United’s UEFA Cup game against Torpedo Moscow, September 1992

The once and future king arrives at Old Trafford, November 1992

Ferguson celebrates with the trophy after winning the inaugural Premier League title (United’s first league championship in 26 years) thanks largely to Eric Cantona’s artisan talents, May 1993

Ferguson poses after receiving the first ever Premier League Manager of the Year award alongside Ryan Giggs, the proud recipient of the Young Eagle of the Year trinket in his debut season, May 1993

Ferguson shows a group of South African children a thing or two while coaching in Soweto, July 1993

Ferguson and assistant Brian Kidd emerge into the daunting, claustrophobic atmosphere of the Ali Sami Yen Stadium ahead of United’s Champions League clash with Galatasaray, Nov 1993

Ferguson poses with Andy Cole, United’s new £7 million signing (a British record at the time, £6 million + Keith Gillespie) from Newcastle United, January 1995. Cole had scored 68 goals in 84 games for Newcastle and kept his form going with 12 in 18 during his first half-season at Old Trafford

Ferguson announces Eric Cantona’s four-month suspension for vaulting over the hoardings to kung-fu kick a lairy Crystal Palace fan to the gathered press, February 1995. ‘When the seagulls follow the trawler…’

Dressed to the hilt, Ferguson and wife Cathy pose outside Buckingham Palace after receiving his CBE from the Prince of Wales, March 1995

Ferguson collects the Sky Sports ‘Overseas Player of the Year Award’ on behalf of Eric Cantona from Zoe Ball at Wembley, January 1996. Soooo…how hot was Zoe Ball?

Ferguson proudly displays the FA Cup and Premier League trophies as he arrives at Manchester’s Victoria Station after securing the double by beating Liverpool 1-0 at Wembley in the FA Cup final, May 1996

A few months after his teary-eyed ‘I’d love it…’ meltdown on live television, Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan exacts his revenge on Ferguson with a wooden rattle, June 1996

Ferguson poses with his summer signings; Ronnie Johnsen, Jordi Cruyff, Ole Solskjaer, Karel Poborsky and Raymond Van Der Gouw, August 1996

Ferguson and Peter Schmeichel collect their respective ‘Manager of the Year’ and the ‘Player of the Year’ awards before the kick off against Blackburn on the first day of the 1996/97 season

New Labour leader Tony Blair parries a shot at goal as Ferguson takes cover behind during a PR visit to Devonshire Road primary school in Blackpool, October 1996

Ferguson cleans up the streets of Manchester with a couple of old friends from his Wimbledon Common days, April 1997

Ferguson lets one of his players know exactly where they’re going wrong against West Ham…

…and it obviously worked, as Ferguson and Kidd were later to celebrate United’s fourth Premier League title, May 1997

Ferguson hits the deck after falling over during a training session at the Stade Louis II Stadium ahead of United’s Champions League quarter-final against Monaco, March 1998

Awkward! Ferguson poses with new signing Jaap Stam and his umbrella as the rain falls at Old Trafford, May 1998

A giddy Ferguson finds time for a game of Subbuteo at the opening of the Manchester United restaurant, February 1999

As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lies in wait, Ferguson tells Teddy Sheringham to go and get warmed up before coming on against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final, May 1999. I forget what happened next…

Oh, that’s right. United David May won the Treble.

Alex Ferguson becomes Sir Alex Ferguson after picking up his knighthood from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, July 1999

The 1999/00 season begins with the Charity Shield against Arsenal and United looking to defend the league title, the FA Cup and the Champions League trophy, August 1999. A 2-1 win for the Gunners saw United start with a loss

Ferguson launches his new autobiography, ‘Managing My Life’, in which he stated that ‘wouldn’t trust Gordon Strachan an inch’ and ‘wouldn’t expose his back to him in a hurry’, much to Strachan’s surprise, August 1999

Ferguson has a wander around the Stade Louis II before United’s UEFA Super Cup match against Lazio and manages to stay on his feet this time, August 1999

The great Massimo Taibi turns up at Old Trafford, September 1999

Ferguson is given a rapturous welcome as he walks out onto the pitch at Old Trafford before his testimonial, October 1999

Ferguson receives the freedom of the City of Glasgow, November 1999

Ferguson and captain Roy Keane lift the Premier League trophy (his seventh league title in charge) after securing it against Derby County, May 2001

David Beckham leaves his home in Cheshire with his eyebrow stitched up after Ferguson *accidentally* kicked a boot across the dressing room at him following the 2-0 FA Cup defeat by Arsenal at Old Trafford, February 2003

Ferguson signs up Cristiano Ronaldo for £15 million (the sweater alone was worth every penny) from Sporting Lisbon, September 2003

For the first time since The Special One’s arrival at Stamford Bridge, Ferguson shakes hands with an almost apologetic Jose Mourinho after losing to Chelsea, August 2004

Ferguson helps hold Wayne Rooney’s new work clothes aloft following the latter’s £25+ million transfer from Everton, September 2004

Ferguson meets United’s new owners, the Glazers, for the first time, May 2005

Ferguson and his former captain Bryan Robson hold wreaths in memorial of the late George Best, who passed a few days before United took on Robson’s West Brom, November 2005

Ferguson and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho exchange uneasy handshakes following a tempestuous match at Old Trafford, November 2005

Super Alex: Fans hold up a banner in praise of Ferguson on his 20th anniversary in charge of the club, November, 2006

Ferguson celebrates John O’Shea’s goal for United against Liverpool at Anfield, March 2007

Cristiano Ronaldo poses with both the PFA ‘Young Player of the Year’ award and the PFA ‘Player of the Year’ while Ferguson displays his PFA ‘Special Merit Award’, April 2007

Ferguson avec une Toucan during a visit to Guangzhou Zoo in China, July 2007

Ferguson leaps in celebration after securing his tenth Premier League title as the final whistle sounds against Wigan, May 2008

Ferguson celebrates with a deliriously inconsolable Cristiano Ronaldo after United’s shootout victory over Chelsea in the Champions League final in Moscow, May 2008

Ferguson pushes through the crowd on the way to lift the Champions League trophy at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, May 2008

Then-Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez reels off his ‘facts’, criticising Ferguson for his infamous mind games during a press conference, January 2009

Ferguson gets his ears lowered by students from the hair-dressing department of his former school, Govan High, during a visit to mark the school’s 100th anniversary, February 2010. We’d happily wager that there probably wasn’t a hair-dressing department back when Sir Alex attended

Ferguson chooses a simply ravishing hat in which to turn out for United’s FA Cup tie with West Ham at a freezing Upton Park, November 2010

Ferguson poses with the new Royal Mail ‘Eminent Briton’ stamp of former United manager Sir Matt Busby days after surpassing Busby’s record as the longest-serving manager in the club’s history, December 2010

Ferguson’s famous ‘Class of 1992’ reunite for Gary Neville’s testimonial, May 2011

Ferguson, Cantona and Pele turn out for Paul Scholes farewell game against the New York Cosmos, August 2011

Ferguson hoists ‘Number 19’ (his 12th) aloft

Long may he reign.