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Fergie To Quit?

High drama is brewing across the Atlantic with frenzied speculation that Alex Ferguson is set to announce his retirement.

It has been reported that Manchester United’s players were told to ready themselves for an important announcement in the coming days, during a team golf outing earlier this week.

United have refused to comment on the speculation that 71-year-old Fergie is ready to end his 26-year reign at Old Trafford, which has heralded an incredible 13 league titles and two European Cups.

Due to United’s registration on the New York Stock Exchange, there is a procedure to follow when making any announcement that could affect its share price.

As it stands, Fergie is set to continue his rolling one-year contract with the Red Devils, and he has given no indication himself that he will be packing it in.

However, after his first long-planned retirement at the end of the 2001-02 season resulted in a change of heart, the legendary, grumpy Glaswegian has always maintained that his genuine retirement could happen on the spur of the moment.

With the possibility that Fergie could quit having led United to an unprecedented 20th English top-flight title, potential successors again come under the spotlight.

It is generally believed that Everton manager David Moyes has considered his every visit to Old Trafford an audition. Fergie backs his compatriot, whose own future at Goodison Park was already open to conjecture.

However, it is understood that United believe that whenever a successor to Fergie is sought, that man must have Champions League and trophy-winning experience, which categorically rules Moyes out.

Intriguingly, Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho could be a free agent if Fergie abdicates, but he continues to be linked to the Chelsea job.

Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp is known to have fans behind the scenes at Old Trafford, but he has gone on record to say he will stay at his club next season.

There have also been calls for United to promote from within, with Ryan Giggs said to have his backers, and former United super sub, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer winning plaudits in charge of Norwegian club Molde.

Fergie is scheduled to have a hip replacement at the end of the season, which could delay his return at the start of the next campaign.

He already has a pacemaker, and a bout of illness at a function in Scotland a year ago further drew his advancing years into the harsh glare of reality.

He has stood like a demigod over English football for so long that Fergie almost seems immortal.

But as magnificent as his feats in football are and will forever be, Fergie is just a man after all. And could it be that his era astride football is coming to a sudden and unexpected end?

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