Sir Alex, caterpillars and Crocodile Dundee
Twenty five years is a long time. Whatever you think of Sir Alex Ferguson, it is impressive he has managed to hang around in the same job for a quarter of a century.
I know there has been a lot on the BBC about his landmark but the intention of this blog is to give an insight into his 25th anniversary dinner that took place in Manchester on Thursday, 3 November - a dinner I was asked to host.
I have mentioned on this blog before that I worked in Manchester as a sports reporter, editor and commentator for about five years from 1999. Part of my job was to visit Sir Alex twice a week to gather his thoughts on the next game and football matters in general.
Our relationship wasn't always wonderful - I was banned on a few occasions - but I maintain he gave me the best possible preparation for a career spent asking people questions, especially difficult ones. If you can take Ferguson's Govan glare and not be turned to stone, you can tackle anyone.
Sir Alex focuses his infamous Govan glare on a tricky spherical object. Photo: Getty
By the time I arrived at United's Cliff Training Ground, before they moved to Carrington, Sir Alex had already been at the club for 13 years. When he was first appointed, Top Gun and Crocodile Dundee were slugging it out at the box office, Nick Berry was number one with Every Loser Wins and Wayne Rooney had just celebrated his first birthday.
Twenty five years on, the death of Goose in Top Gun is still hard to take, "That's not a knife... this is a knife," from Crocodile Dundee remains a great film quote, Nick Berry is no longer a chart sensation and Rooney is playing for a manager who is still going strong.
When you consider Ferguson's achievements in those 25 years, it is no surprise the stars were out in force at Old Trafford cricket ground.
Every United first-team squad member was in attendance, along with 40 former players and a host of managers from the Premier League plus other famous football faces. Comedy came from Kevin Bridges and music from the brilliant Mumford & Sons and The Script. There were showbiz-types and business bigwigs all soaking up the glitz and glamour.
Fergie admitted he had not heard of either of the bands but they were both delighted to be there and a little starstruck when they got to meet the man himself.
My job was to introduce the evening with co-host Charlotte Jackson, run the auction and interview Sir Alex on stage for 20 minutes. There were 600 people in the room. I often get asked if I feel nervous about these sorts of things but, to be honest, it is a real pleasure to do them. I always feel at home with a microphone.
I have hosted quite a few auctions over the years and once sold a wicker dog for £1.50. Someone opened the bidding at five pence so I was happy with the end price. Last night's auction was on a different level. An outrageously expensive watch, a car, the chance to attend Cheltenham races with Sir Alex and arrive by helicopter, VIP tickets to every music festival for 12 months, a week's stay on a luxury yacht and the chance to be a mascot at Old Trafford were all on offer.
Arguing over League Two with Mumford & Sons
In total, the night raised £220,000 for the Elizabeth Hardie Ferguson Charitable Trust Fund.
I feel it would be wrong of me to not mention the food as well. There was a delicious smoked fish starter, a cheeky steak main and a mini banoffee pie for afters that was off the scale.
The after-show party went on into the small hours. The highlights were putting a bow tie on Brian O'Driscoll, some guy doing the greatest caterpillar dance in history and arguing with Marcus from Mumford & Sons about the merits of my Crawley Town over his AFC Wimbledon.
On Football Focus this week we shall be looking back on the Fergie Years with his former assistant Steve McClaren as well as Mark Lawrenson. We will also be asking whether Manchester City are going to ruin season number 26. Steve Bruce will be talking about Sunderland's season and we will hear from Crewe's Dario Gradi.
In addition to all that, David Beckham will be on Focus for the first time in a while and we will hoover up all the stories and goals from the week too.
Thanks for all your questions for Sir Alex from last week's blog. I wove a couple in last night. If you have any general comments or questions this week then write them below and I will try to get back to you. I should point out that I was a little rubbish with my responses last time but it is my November resolution to be a lot better. If this isn't enough Football Focus in your life, you can also find me on Twitter.