Sir Alex Ferguson retires as Manchester United coach

The most successful football coach Britain has ever seen announced his retirement on Wednesday when Sir Alex Ferguson called an end to his 26 years in charge of Manchester United, one of the world's footballing powers. Sir Alex is perhaps the most successful coach in any British sport. He brought unparalleled success to his club, winning 38 trophies during his reign. In a statement he said: "The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time. It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so." He added: "I must pay tribute to my family. Their love and support have been essential."

Twitter said the news of Sir Alex's retirement received four times more mentions than news of the death of Margaret Thatcher last month. The top names in football were quick to pay homage to the legendary manager. David Beckham tweeted: "Without him, I would never have achieved what I have done in my career….I am truly honoured to have been guided by the greatest manager in football." FIFA president Sepp Blatter tweeted: "His achievements in the game place him without doubt as one of the greats." UEFA president Michel Platini described Ferguson as a "visionary" who "has made a massive contribution to football". His successor has an exceedingly tough act to follow.