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Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Sunderland at Old Trafford was always going to be a memorable day for fans, players, staff, and most of all the manager. But the day started with a surprise, as Chief Executive David Gill unveiled that the North Stand was now the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, in honour of his silver jubilee… 

Sir Alex celebrates 25 years as the head of the world’s biggest football club on Sunday, and Saturday’s match – no matter what the scoreline – belonged to the gaffer. United won, of course, thanks to Danny Welbeck forcing a Wes Brown own goal, but the most entertaining and emotional scenes came before the game. CEO David Gill thanked the boss, awarding him an award, before unveiling the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand up in lights.

The North Stand’s Old Trafford, Manchester letters were replaced by Sir Alex Ferguson Stand. It was a fitting way to mark the 25 years, with 37 trophies won in that period. The stand is Old Trafford’s biggest, holding 26,000 fans, and the ground’s naming has never before been touched. In addition, renowned sculptor Philip Jackson has been commissioned to create a statue of Fergie, which will appear at the entrance to the SAF Stand next summer. 

Ferguson knew nothing about the stand being named in his honour, nor the statue being commissioned. “I was really emotional, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t expect that, and I have to thank the club for that. It’s fantastic of them to do that and I’m really proud of it. I didn’t know a thing about it. Mick Phelan knew about it but never told me – so he’s sacked – he’s out the door!… I had no idea at all and my family didn’t know anything about it either.” 

Pictures: Sir Alex Ferguson’s Silver Jubilee

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