- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MANCHESTER, England — During more than a quarter of a century in charge of Manchester United, Alex Ferguson has always found the way to win — and win again.


SEE ALSO: David Moyes favored as Alex Ferguson successor at Man United


Scrappy, abrasive and always up for a fight, Ferguson turned the club into a global power and established himself as the most successful manager in British football history.

And now, the 71-year-old Scotsman is going out on a high. On his own terms.

With his 13th Premier League title and 38th major trophy at United already secured, Ferguson announced Wednesday that he is retiring at the end of the season.

“The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly,” the Scotsman said. “It is the right time.”

Since taking charge at Old Trafford in 1986, Ferguson’s trophy collection also includes two Champions League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups and the 2008 FIFA World Club Cup.

“His drive, ambition, skill, passion and vision have not only shaped Manchester United, but in many ways the game of football as we now know it,” Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said.

Manchester United, which is owned by the American Glazer family and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, did not immediately announce a successor, but will need to act swiftly to stave off any market uncertainty.

Everton manager David Moyes, a fellow Scot from Glasgow, is the front-runner for the job. During 11 years at Everton, Moyes has overseen impressive results on a limited budget and enjoyed a long-standing friendship with Ferguson.

“He is a first-class manager,” Ferguson, who is being consulted on his successor, said of Moyes last year.

United is valued at around $3.2 billion and is one of the world’s most high-profile sports brands.

Manchester United shares dropped more than 5 percent in early New York trading, but the losses were clawed back quickly. By late morning, the shares were trading at $18.42, down 1.3 percent.

Few managers at United — or anywhere in global football — will come close to matching Ferguson’s achievements.

“It was important to me to leave an organization in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so,” he said. “The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level.”

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