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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

McGrath on Fergie: ‘What he has done is the impossible for Manchester United’

Paul McGrath says Alex Ferguson always treated him with the utmost respect, even after he left Manchester United in 1989.

Image: John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND legend Paul McGrath has paid tribute to Alex Ferguson for ‘doing the impossible’ as Manchester United manager.

Weeks after capturing United’s record 20th league title Ferguson, 71, stunned fans this morning by suddenly announcing that he will retire at the end of the season.

“I’m very shocked this morning,” McGrath told Sports Breakfast on Talksport. “I thought with winning the title he might push the envelope out again so it’s a big shock, but it had to happen some time.”

Despite his struggles with injury and alcoholism, McGrath played under Ferguson for three seasons before a falling out saw him leave Old Trafford for Aston Villa.

United went on to win a remarkable 13 league titles during the remainder of the Scot’s 27-year tenure, eclipsing Liverpool at the top of England’s domestic honour roll, and also won the Champions League in 1999 and again in 2008.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I think he’d be there as long as he has been,” McGrath added. “He got rid of players, myself included, that he thought were upsetting the rhythm of the club.

“No one was bigger than the club. Everything he did he did for Manchester United and I think the fans have been blessed to have him there for the years he has been there.

What he has done is the impossible for Manchester United. He’s put them on top as a world football team. The respect around the world now that Manchester United has has been built by Sir Alex.

It’s an incredible feat that he has achieved and now that the bombshell has dropped, it’s a sad loss for football. I was one of those people who probably didn’t get on with him too well but he showed me great respect after I left the club.

Poll: Who should replace Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager?

Fergie’s retirement: Furious Paddy Crerand gets it spectacularly wrong on Newstalk

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