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Sir Alex Ferguson's 20 Greatest Manchester United Moments

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentOctober 26, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson's 20 Greatest Manchester United Moments

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    Manchester United manager for more than 26 years and the winner of 28 major trophies, it's an almost impossible task to boil down Sir Alex Ferguson's Old Trafford career into 20 top moments.

    There are the 13 Premier League titles. The five FA Cups. The four League Cups. The two Champions League titles, two World titles, a Cup Winners' Cup and a Super Cup.

    Does the Charity Shield count? Well, just in case, there were 10 of those as well.

    This list has tried to include his triumphs off the pitch as well as on it. His biggest successes all feature heavily, with weight given to the size of achievement and the competition he faced.

    So here, in reverse order, are Fergie's top 20 moments from his time as United manager.

    Feel free to use the comments section to agree, argue and add your own because there are plenty that didn't make the cut.

West Brom 5 Man United 5 (2013)

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    For some United fans, it was disappointing that Fergie didn't go out with a win in his last game as United manager.

    But for the man himself, it summed up his Old Trafford career perfectly: Goals, drama and attacking football right until the end.

Premier League Title (2001)

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    The title that cemented United's place as the dominant force in English football. 

    Champions in 1999 and 2000, they won it again in 2001 to make it three in a row.

Selling Norman Whiteside and Paul McGrath (1989)

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    Fergie set about changing the entire culture at United when he took over from Ron Atkinson. And, in the summer of 1989, that meant getting rid of fans' favourites Norman Whiteside and Paul McGrath.

    It was early evidence of Fergie's ruthless streak which also led to the departures of Roy Keane, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy years later.

Robin Van Persie Winner vs Manchester City (2012)

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    Humiliated by Manchester City at Old Trafford the previous season, Sir Alex got his revenge at the Etihad Stadium.

    Robin van Persie, his star summer capture, scored a last-minute winner to seal a 3-2 win and set United on the way to yet another title, one which would turn out to be Fergie's last.

Arsenal 2 Man United 6 (1990)

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    It might have only been a League Cup tie, but it marked United's capabilities as serious title challengers.

    Defending champions Arsenal were torn apart by United in November 1990, inspired by a hat-trick from Lee Sharpe. 

Retirement U-Turn (2002)

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    Ferguson announced he would retire at the end of the 2001-02 season and the board lined up England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson to take over.

    But while Fergie nodded off on Christmas Day, his family—led by wife Cathy—decided he had to carry on.

    He revealed his u-turn in February 2002 and won another Premier League title the following season.

Steve Bruce's Winner vs Sheffield Wednesday (1993)

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    A goal down to Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford in April 1993, United staged one of their first late fightbacks under Fergie.

    Steve Bruce scored twice in the final five minutes to spark wild celebrations from Ferguson and Brian Kidd on the touchline as United marched towards their first Premier League title.

Mark Robins' Goal (1990)

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    United's hierarchy insists that Mark Robins' goal in the FA Cup third round against Nottingham Forest in January 1990 didn't save Fergie's job.

    But it set United on the way to a first trophy under Ferguson and eased the growing pressure on the former Aberdeen boss.

Promoting the Class of '92 (1995)

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    Ferguson set about revamping United's youth system when he took over from Ron Atkinson in 1986. 

    And it had started to bear fruit by 1991 when Ryan Giggs was handed his first-team debut. Giggs went on to lead United's youngsters to the FA Youth Cup in 1992 alongside Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and Paul Scholes.

    And when Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis left in the summer of 1995, Fergie handed his fledglings their big chance. 

    They ended the season with Premier League and FA Cup winners' medals.

Signing Eric Cantona (1992)

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    One of the best signings Fergie ever made. 

    Dion Dublin's broken leg forced the United manager back into the transfer market. But it was only a chance phone call with Leeds United that set the ball rolling for Eric Cantona's move to Old Trafford. 

    He arrived in November 1992 for a bargain £1.2 million. Six months later United were champions.

Premier League Title (2011)

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    On the surface, this was just the 12th of Sir Alex's 13 Premier League titles. But it was also the 19th in United's history, securing their place as England's most successful club.

    It was also vindication for Fergie, who arrived from Scotland in 1986 promising to knock Liverpool off their perch.

FA Cup Final (1996)

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    Eric Cantona's late volley in the FA Cup final sealed the double double, after first winning the league and cup in 1994.

    It was made all the sweeter for Fergie that Liverpool were their Wembley opponents. It also helped ease the pain of ending the previous season empty-handed.

Premier League Title (2007)

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    After seeing off Liverpool, Aston Villa, Blackburn and Arsenal, Sir Alex faced a new challenge during the 2006-07 season—Roman Abramovich's Chelsea.

    Champions for the past two seasons and funded by Abramovich's billions, some speculated whether Chelsea had broken United's stranglehold on English football.

    But Fergie hit back with his ninth Premier League title, in the process stopping Jose Mourinho winning three in a row.

Cup Winners' Cup Final (1991)

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    The 1990-91 season was the first after the reintroduction of English teams into European competition following the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985.

    United booked their place in the Cup Winners' Cup after winning the FA Cup the previous season. Reds' fans invaded Rotterdam for the final against Barcelona, where two goals from Mark Hughes earned Fergie his first European trophy as United boss.

FA Cup Final (1994)

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    Despite the pouring rain, United enjoyed a relatively easy afternoon against Chelsea in the FA Cup final, winning 4-0 thanks in part to two penalties from Eric Cantona.

    More than that, it confirmed Ferguson's first Premier League and FA Cup double.

Premier League Title (2013)

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    Last season's Premier League title wasn't just important because it was Fergie's last, ensuring he went out on a high.

    It was evidence of Sir Alex, even in his 70s, rising to a new challenge.

    This time it came from Manchester City, the 2012 champions. Fergie, however, had the last laugh.

First FA Cup (1990)

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    Fergie was under pressure in 1990. But four years after his appointment, that all evaporated one Thursday night at Wembley. 

    Having reached the FA Cup final, the first game with Crystal Palace ended in a 3-3 draw.

    Fergie dropped goalkeeper Jim Leighton for the replay and Lee Martin scored the only goal in a 1-0 win to hand the Scot his first trophy as United manager.

Champions League Final (2008)

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    Catch Sir Alex at his most honest and he'll tell you his one regret is not winning the Champions League more often.

    He likes to say that a club of United's history and tradition should have won it more than three times. But Fergie has done more to change United's record in Europe than anyone else.

    In 2008, he won his second Champions League title—United's third—with a penalty shootout win over Chelsea in Moscow.

First Premier League Title (1993)

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    When Fergie moved south from Aberdeen in 1986, he did so with the aim of returning United to the top of the First Division. 

    It took a little longer than he expected, but when Aston Villa lost to Oldham on May 2, 1993, it confirmed United's first championship for 26 years.

    A 3-1 win over Blackburn at Old Trafford the following day was the perfect title party.

The Treble (1999)

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    The pinnacle and a season that will never be bettered.

    After seeing off Tottenham at Old Trafford in a nervy Premier League finale, United eased past Newcastle to lift the FA Cup at Wembley, then moved on to Barcelona to face Bayern Munich in their first European Cup final since 1968.

    It was almost one game too far for Fergie's team.

    But they found a way to win anyway, with Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer completing the most dramatic of injury-time comebacks.

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