Jonny Evans says Sir Alex Ferguson departure 'unthinkable'

By Chris BevanBBC Sport
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson turns 70 on 31 December

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans says it is "unthinkable" to imagine the club without manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson celebrates 25 years at Old Trafford on Sunday, and Evans told BBC Sport: "Picturing anyone else in that dugout is just strange."

Evans and the rest of the United squad were at Ferguson's gala dinner on Thursday and the 23-year-old does not expect him to step down any time soon.

"He will just keep going until he can't anymore," Evans added.

The Northern Ireland international was not even born when Ferguson was appointed as United boss in November 1986 and sees him lasting a quarter of a century in the job as an incredible achievement.

In that time the 69-year-old Scot has won 12 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions Leagues and a Cup Winners' Cup at Old Trafford.

"He is probably the greatest manager of all time," Evans said. "The best thing about him as a manager is his simplicity. His values are about working hard and always being determined to be the best.

"He's a winner. He has been a winner all his life. I've read his book and he's been like that from a very young age.

"He had a tough upbringing but that brought him some good values and he tries to pass that on to us when we go out on the pitch."

Evans, a product of the famed United youth system, says Ferguson has been a huge influence on many players' careers, whether or not they stay on at United.

He explained: "He's always there for you to talk to, but he is good at getting young players to find out for themselves how to do things, which helps them when they leave."