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Ferguson through the United years; For almost 27 years, Sir Alex Ferguson has controlled Manchester United, taking them from Liverpool's shadow to what the suits like to claim is the biggest global brand in world sport. Here, we chronicle the Scot's remarkable tenure.

1986-87 Ferguson is lured south from Aberdeen and appointed manager to replace Ron Atkinson on November 6, 1986. Manages a win at Liverpool but an unremarkable 11th placed finish indicates the work needed to be done. LEAGUE: 11th.

FA CUP: Fourth Round. STAR MAN: Paul McGrath.

1987-88 It seems progress is being made with a first top-two finish in seven years. But United are light years behind Liverpool, and Ferguson knows it. New signing Brian McClair becomes first player to score 20 league goals since George Best in 1967-68. LEAGUE: 2nd.

FA CUP: 5th Round. LEAGUE CUP: 5th Round. STAR MAN: Bryan Robson.

1988-89 The momentum of the previous season is lost, despite the emergence of Fergie's Fledglings. A home FA Cup quarter-final defeat by Nottingham Forest is a savage blow. The pressure is on.

LEAGUE: 11th. FA CUP: 6th Round. LEAGUE CUP: 3rd Round. STAR MAN: Steve Bruce.

1989-90 Ferguson's worst day comes in 5-1 defeat to Manchester City after home defeat to Crystal Palace. But Mark Robins' goal at Forest begins run in FA Cup that ends in glory at Wembley. LEAGUE: 13th.

FA CUP: Winners. LEAGUE CUP: 3rd Round. STAR MAN: Mark Robins.

1990-91 The trophies continue as United claim the European Cup Winners' Cup with two Mark Hughes goals against Barcelona in Rotterdam. Agony at Wembley in the League Cup though and only marginal improvement in the league. LEAGUE: 6th.

FA CUP: 5th Round. LEAGUE CUP: Finalists. EUROPE: Cup Winners' Cup winners.

STAR MAN: Paul Ince.

1991-92 Dramatic collapse with three successive defeats costs United the title and raises questions about whether they will ever win it. League Cup success is scant consolation. LEAGUE: 2nd. FA CUP: 4th Round. LEAGUE CUP: Winners. EUROPE: Cup Winners' Cup 2nd Round.

STAR MAN: Peter Schmeichel.

1992-93 The arrival of Eric Cantona in November becomes the catalyst for everything that is to follow. Two Steve Bruce headers help overcome Sheffield Wednesday in key encounter and Ferguson learns on the golf course he is a Premier League winner.

LEAGUE: Winners. FA CUP: 5th Round. LEAGUE CUP: 3rd Round. EUROPE: UEFA Cup 1st Round. STAR MAN: Eric Cantona.

1993-94 Almost the perfect domestic season. Title is retained and the FA Cup is won in some comfort against Chelsea. Only defeat to Aston Villa in League Cup final prevents clean sweep.

LEAGUE: Winners. FA CUP: Winners. LEAGUE CUP: Finalists. EUROPE: Champions League 2nd Round.

STAR MAN: Ryan Giggs.

1994-95 Cantona launches himself into the crowd at Selhurst Park and gets eight-month ban that overshadows the end to the campaign. Andy Cole gets five against Ipswich, but United fail to win at West Ham to hand the championship to Blackburn. LEAGUE: 2nd.

FA CUP: Runners-up. LEAGUE CUP: 3rd Round. EUROPE: Champions League Group stage.

STAR MAN: Andy Cole.

1995-96 Cantona's return catapults the Red Devils back to the top with the team of kids Alan Hansen said you could never win anything with. Frenchman scores key goals to reclaim the league and the FA Cup final winner against Liverpool. LEAGUE: Winners. FA CUP: Winners. LEAGUE CUP: 2nd Round. EUROPE: UEFA Cup 1st Round. STAR MAN: Eric Cantona.

1996-97 With domestic supremacy assured, Ferguson sets his sights on the Champions League. They come up short though, beaten in the semi-finals by Borussia Dortmund.

LEAGUE: Winners. FA CUP: 4th Round. LEAGUE CUP: 4th Round. EUROPE: Champions League semi-finals. STAR MAN: David Beckham.

1997-98 Arsenal's emergence under Arsene Wenger catches Ferguson out. With Cantona now retired, United win just four games out of 11 in a dreadful mid-season run. LEAGUE: 2nd.

FA CUP: 5th Round. LEAGUE CUP: 3rd Round. EUROPE: Champions League quarter-finals.

STAR MAN: Gary Neville.

1998-99 The greatest season in United's history as they become the first English team to win the Treble. The injury-time defeat of Bayern Munich, thanks to late goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will earn Fergie a knighthood too. LEAGUE: Winners.

FA CUP: Winners. LEAGUE CUP: 5th Round. EUROPE: Champions League winners.

STAR MAN: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

1999-2000 Most famous part of this season is not defending FA Cup in favour of Club World Championship. Ferguson claims the break in Brazil was the determining factor in United's comfortable title triumph. LEAGUE: Winners.

FA CUP: Did not enter. LEAGUE CUP: 3rd Round. EUROPE: Champions League quarter-finals.

STAR MAN: Dwight Yorke.

2000-01 Another title cruise but more frustration in Europe. Slowly Old Trafford is changing as Jaap Stam's abrupt exit is followed by the reduction in roles for Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. LEAGUE: Winners.

FA CUP: 4th Round. LEAGUE CUP: 4th Round. EUROPE: Champions League quarter-finals.

STAR MAN: Teddy Sheringham.

2001-02 Ruud van Nistelrooy arrives to score 36 times, but Juan Sebastian Veron flatters to deceive and United win nothing. Ferguson abandons retirement plans.

LEAGUE: 3rd. FA CUP: 4th Round. LEAGUE CUP: 3rd Round. EUROPE: Champions League semi-finals.

STAR MAN: Ruud van Nistelrooy.

2002-03 Rio Ferdinand becomes the latest big-money recruit as the title is reclaimed once more. But a row between Ferguson and David Beckham leaves the England skipper with a cut eye and heralds his United exit. LEAGUE: Winners.

FA CUP: 5th Round. LEAGUE CUP: Runners-up. EUROPE: Champions League quarter-finals.

STAR MAN: Ruud van Nistelrooy.

2003-04 Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival does not yield instant dividends and Kleberson, David Bellion and Eric Djemba-Djemba are a reminder that Fergie doesn't always get it right. A first meeting with Mourinho ends in defeat to Porto.

LEAGUE: 3rd. FA CUP: Winners. LEAGUE CUP: 4th Round. EUROPE: Champions League last 16.

STAR MAN: Ruud van Nistelrooy.

2004-05 After Arsenal's Invincibles, Jose Mourinho's formidable Chelsea raise the bar even further. United endure only their fourth trophyless season in 17, although the arrival of Wayne Rooney is a statement of intent. LEAGUE: 3rd.

FA CUP: Runners-up. LEAGUE CUP: Semi-final. EUROPE: Champions League last 16.

STAR MAN: Wayne Rooney.

2005-06 The low point in recent times. Out of Europe at the group stage and Roy Keane booted out after strong criticism on MUTV following defeat at Middlesbrough. Season is saved by Carling Cup triumph and strong league finish.

LEAGUE: 2nd. FA CUP: 5th Round. LEAGUE CUP: Winners. EUROPE: Champions League group stage.

STAR MAN: Rio Ferdinand.

2006-07 With Cristiano Ronaldo starting to show the form that would soon see him become the world's best player. United reclaim the title and go agonisingly close in Europe. LEAGUE: Winners.

FA CUP: Runners-up. LEAGUE CUP: 4th Round. EUROPE: Champions League semi-final.

STAR MAN: Cristiano Ronaldo.

2007-08 Ronaldo dazzles spectacularly as Ferguson lands his second Champions League in the year of the 50th anniversary of Munich. Carlos Tevez also makes a telling contribution as United retain their title.

LEAGUE: Winners. FA CUP: 6th Round. LEAGUE CUP: 3rd Round. EUROPE: Champions League winners.

STAR MAN: Cristiano Ronaldo.

2008-09 Ferguson persuades Ronaldo to stay for another year, signs Dimitar Berbatov and gets another title and League Cup, but United are badly beaten by Barcelona in Champions League final.

LEAGUE: Winners. FA CUP: Semi-final. LEAGUE CUP: Winners. EUROPE: Champions League runners-up.

STAR MAN: Cristiano Ronaldo.

2009-10 Ronaldo leaves, as does Tevez, but Rooney revels on centre stage. United fall just short though, missing out on the title by a point and losing to Bayern Munich in Europe, in controversial circumstances. League Cup is retained though. LEAGUE: 2nd.

FA CUP: 3rd Round. LEAGUE CUP: Winners. EUROPE: Champions League quarter-final.

STAR MAN: Wayne Rooney.

2010-11 Ferguson becomes longestserving manager in United's history. Late season stutter does not cost them a record 19th championship but Barcelona too good in what proves to be the Scot's last European final. LEAGUE: Winners.

FA CUP: Semi-final. LEAGUE CUP: 5th Round. EUROPE: Champions League runners-up.

STAR MAN: Nemanja Vidic.

2011-12 United suffer an unexpected mishap in Europe, and a rare trophyless season on the domestic front as a late season slump allows Manchester City to seize the initiative, before winning it in stoppage time on the final day. Ferguson tells his players never to forget how they feel.

LEAGUE: 2nd. FA CUP: 4th Round. LEAGUE CUP: 5th Round. EUROPE: Champions League group stage, Europa League last 16.

STAR MAN: Wayne Rooney.

2012-13 Red Devils motor to their 20th title with four games to spare after the arrival of Robin van Persie proves the catalyst for their superiority. At one stage, the Treble looks on, but Ferguson's last European campaign ends in acrimony following Nani's red card against Real Madrid and Chelsea end hopes of another FA Cup.

LEAGUE: Winners. FA CUP: Quarter-final. LEAGUE CUP: 4th Round. EUROPE: Champions League last 16. STAR MAN: Robin van Persie.

CAPTION(S):

Fergie with Eric Cantona

Fergie with Ryan Giggs

Fergie with Cristiano Ronaldo

Fergie with Robin van Persie

| Sir Alex Ferguson, second right, takes charge of his first Manchester United game, a 2-0 defeat to Oxford

SIr Alex Ferguson pictured with the Champions League trophy the morning after Manchester United's win in 1999
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 9, 2013
Words:1480
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