"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time." Ferguson is quoted as saying.
The Manchester United Board of Directors have issued a press release about the news, which is as follows:
"On a personal note let us initially state that we at the board are delighted that Alex has agreed to stay as a director. His contributions to Manchester United over the last 26 years have been extraordinary and, like all United fans, I want him to be a part of its future.
His retirement has come somewhat of a shock to all of us but we're sure that we stand with all Manchester United Fans in that he deserves a worthy send off. It is customary to give those entering retirement with a gold watch - however, in light of the magnificent achievements of Sir Alex we have decided to both abide by this tradition but also go one step further and gift him with the magic time controlling watch he has used during his tenure with the club.
The magical tachyon-altering powers of the famous timepiece should suit him well in retirement - by allowing him to slow time to an absolute crawl when dashing to use his free bus pass on local transport or by allowing him to speed it up to allow it to pass at hundreds of times its normal speed when trying to hurry up a boring board meeting."