United's 1999 European Cup Final triumph Britain's bookmakers had to stop taking bets on
manager Alex Ferguson being knighted. The honour had the full approval of Prime Minister
Tony Blair, and of course, millions of United fans around the world.
The award was confirmed soon
after at midnight in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
"I am delighted and honoured," said the United manager. "I see this as an
honour not just for me but for the people who have supported me through my life, and made
me what I am."
"If my parents were still alive, they would be very proud. They gave me a good start
in life, the values that have driven me, and the confidence to believe in myself. I could
not have achieved what I have without the support of my friends and colleagues throughout
my career, both as a player and as a manager in Scotland and England.
"Manchester United's success is not just down to me but to the players who have to
deliver on the pitch, and to the people at Old Trafford, past and present, who have made
it the greatest football club in the world." Sir Alex also had some touching words
for his sibling, wife and children: "I want to thank my brother Martin and my three
sons for their constant love and support. "Above all, I want to thank my wife Cathy.
She knows better than anyone the pressures of the job, and the demands they place upon me.
She is the rock of stability in my life and I share this honour with her."
All the staff at Old Trafford are thrilled for the man they affectionately refer to as
'The Boss.' Speaking on behalf of the club, Peter Kenyon, Deputy Chief Executive, enthused
"Everyone at Manchester United is delighted by the news. It is a fantastic accolade
and honour for a man who has put in so much hard work and determination, not only at
Manchester United but also for British football. I couldn't think of a more befitting way
to end what has been an unbelievable season."
The timing of Alex's award mirrors that of Sir Matt Busby's honour in 1968. The late,
great forefather of the modern Manchester United was also knighted after winning the
biggest club competition in the world, the European Cup.
Alex Ferguson received a
knighthood to go with his CBE on Tuesday 20th July, and revealed that he had chatted with
the Queen about football. He said that Her Majesty had passed judgement on the team's
achievements. "The Queen told me she doesn't think it will ever be achieved again -
and she's right," beamed Ferguson outside afterwards.
"The culmination of three trophies was the pinnacle of my career and it has been
rewarded with a knighthood," said the kilted Sir Alex. "It's such a proud moment
for me, my family and for the club - because it is a team effort. This is the medal that
recognises all the others I've won in football.
"Football management is all about winning trophies and I'll be happy maintaining
success. I don't set any particular targets - just win what you can," said only the
eighth football figure to be knighted, following in the footsteps of Sir Matt Busby.