Sir Alex Ferguson reflects on 'fairytale' Manchester United reign

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has described his 25 years in charge at the club as "a fairytale".

Ferguson, 70 in December, has won 12 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions Leagues and a Cup Winners' Cup at Old Trafford.

"It is a bit of a fairytale to last so long," said the Scot, who joined United from Aberdeen in 1986.

"It has been a fantastic spell for me. It is something you don't think is going to happen and I appreciate that."

Despite his incredible achievement at the highest level of English football, Ferguson has never been comfortable discussing past glories.

Even when quizzed about his milestone on Thursday, he started with his oft-repeated phrase: "I am not getting into that."

But on Thursday the 69-year-old did allow himself the briefest of reflections on a career that has brought him glory way beyond what anyone could have imagined when he succeeded Ron Atkinson on 6 November 1986.

Since then, Ferguson has lifted 27 trophies and overseen the rise of numerous world-class players.

"When I look back I say to myself how fortunate I am to have had these players," he stated.

"The list is incredible, going back to the very start with Bryan Robson, Norman Whiteside, Brian McClair, [Mark] Hughes, [Paul] Ince, [Roy] Keane, [Eric] Cantona. What a collection of players. They were fantastic players.

"It is hard to think I controlled all these players for so long. Now to the present era of players we see today, different personalities and different cultures."

Ferguson famously set out to "knock Liverpool off their perch", a target he achieved last season when United edged ahead of the Reds by securing their 19th top-flight crown.

Attention will inevitably turn to how long he can go on, to which he commented: "I will continue as long as I feel healthy enough to do it."

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