Sir Alex Ferguson arrived at Manchester United’s training ground this morning amid fearsome rumours that he is set to retire after 26 years at Old Trafford.
Reports on Wednesday suggested that Sir Alex is ready to leave his role as United’s manager after Sunday’s home game against Swansea, when they will be presented with the Premier League trophy.
United have so far refused to respond to the speculation, with the club forced to adhere to the rules and regulations of the New York Stock Exchange – which opens at 2.30pm – over the release of information relating to the running of the club.
David Moyes has been strongly backed with bookmakers to take over from Sir Alex after speculation went into overdrive on Tuesday following a golf match between United players and coaches at Dunham Massey.
The news has come as a “complete shock” to many within the club, but Sir Alex has long been planning for his succession and has consistently cited his health as the decisive factor in the timing of his retirement.
The Scot, who is due at Chester races today with the United squad, had a pacemaker fitted in 2004 and United confirmed last week that he would undergo hip surgery in August.
David Gill’s decision to stand down as chief executive this summer also sees Sir Alex lose a close ally within the club and there have been suggestions that he came close to quitting at the end of last season before losing out on the Premier League title to rivals Manchester City.
Sir Alex won his 13th league title this year and has previously expressed his regret over announcing his retirement before the end of the 2001-02, which he felt led to poor on-pitch performances and resulted in a U-turn after he had a change of heart.