While previous English Premier League campaigns have signed off on the final day with a bang - most notably last year's spine-tingling last-gasp title-winning goal from Sergio Aguero - this year somewhat ended with a whimper as a number of drawn out farewells came to a close.
Remarkably, the managers at three of the Premier League's top seven teams walked away from their respective clubs on Sunday, and that's with Roberto Mancini having already departed runners up Manchester City after their FA Cup final loss to relegated Wigan.
I'd like to be one of many, many people to thank Sir Alex Ferguson today.
When I first started following the Premier League five years ago, it was Ferguson more than any other man who hooked me. The man was a legend – indomitable, scary, mythical, and yet down-to-earth, old-fashioned and charitable.
I was about 12, and playing Playstation at a friend's house. After roughly our 60th head-to-head match, he suggested we start a career game together. He was one of those odd sorts that didn't support a particular team, "just the game in general", so we were Manchester United. "Ah", he said. "There's only one manager, and two of us.
Let's review the facts. Before Manchester United's match against my Chelsea team on the 5th of May, Sir Alex Ferguson wrote in the matchday program, "I certainly don't have any plans at the moment to walk away." Then I beat him 1-0 and David Luiz laughed at him. This was the second time I beat his team this season.
The shock of the news of Sir Alex's retirement this morning hit me more than any sports story I have ever read. Can I write a fitting tribute? No, I am not a good enough writer. It is a time every Utd fan knew would come one day, but like many, I did not expect it at this time, which makes it all the more difficult to compute.
22.04.2013 - El escocés Alexander Chapman Ferguson (31.12.1941) acaba de ganar su título número 38 como entrenador del Manchester United, cargo en el que se desempeña ininterrumpidamente desde el 5 de noviembre de 1986. . caligula
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Nigeria is back on top of the African football landscape, after a gritty 1-0 victory over Cinderella side Burkina Faso in the African Cup of Nations final.
Nigerian midfielder Sunday Mba scored the game's only goal in the 40th minute in stunning fashion, flicking the ball over a defender with his right foot, before finishing into the far post with his left.
Sir Alex Ferguson attacked both the Premier League and the English Football Association on Friday, attacking decisions on match scheduling and fitness information leaks.
The longtime Manchester United boss accused the league of handicapping teams involved in the Champions League after the league decided to keep United's match against Everton on Sunday, reducing his time to prepare the club for its battle with Real Madrid next Wednesday.
I sit here on a warm African winter afternoon, my tele switched to ESPN classic. They have a vintage Arsenal game going and im glued as if it were live. Its Highbury....Its Sol Campbell, its Vieira, its Bergkamp, its Thierry... its an Arsenal routing of Manchester United.
Why All The Surprise At Wenger's "Hair-Dryer" Outburst? by FD
There's been a lot of media talk since Arsenal's victory over Wigan at the Emirates on Tuesday about the apparent rocket Arsene Wenger delivered to his under-performing players during the half-time interval. Theo Walcott was quoted in the Guardian as saying: "We got a rocket,"
I know that Cesc Fabregas is no longer an Arsenal player, but if he signed for Manchester United this summer, it would feel as bad to me, personally, as if they were signing him from us. The 26-year old Spanish international will be parading the Spanish La Liga trophy through the streets of Barcelona today after Real Madrid could only manage a draw on Saturday to hand the title to the Catalan club.
Arsene Wenger will be the longest serving manager in the Premier League next season, assuming that the Arsenal board and owner do not surprise everyone by sacking him. Alex Ferguson has been at Manchester United for over 26 years, while the man who will replace him at Old Trafford next season, David Moyes, is currently the third longest serving manager with over ten years at Everton.
The tension and rivalry between Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson reached critical mass when Arsenal travelled to Manchester United hoping to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to 50 games. It was an extremely bad tempered affair which Mike Riley refereed poorly, awarding Wayne Rooney a penalty for a Sol Campbell foul that never was and letting the United players, especially the horse faced striker Ruud van Nistelrooy get away with some shocking tackles.
The former Arsenal and England striker Alan `smudger` Smith has been writing about his memories of the Gunners and his thoughts on the current Arsenal team. Smith left Arsenal shortly before Arsene Wenger took over in 1996, but he has always followed the Gunners and has suggested that the Frenchman is at a pivotal period in his Arsenal reign and could maybe do with being a little more flexible in his methods.
Rooney to Arsenal? The silly season's started early by FD
It's no secret that Wayne Rooney has been less than happy with being little more than a bit-part player in Manchester United's Premiership-winning side. When he was recently reported as wanting a move away from Old Trafford, the football world must have shrugged and muttered "so what's new?
There is no guarantee of anything in football, but Arsenal will surely have a better chance of winning something, even the coveted Premier League title, next season. The old man of Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson, is hanging up his hairdryer and rose tinted glasses at the end of the season and moving upstairs to be a director ans club ambassador for Manchester United.
All this angst and hand-wringing over whether Tottenham will leapfrog over Arsenal if they beat Chelsea on Wednesday is just so much a total wasate of time. In fact we should be extyremely pleased that the Spuds are going to Stamford Bridge to contest their game in hand.
It will not surprise many Arsenal fans that Alex Ferguson complained that his Manchester United players did not get fair treatment from the referee at the Emirates yesterday. Fergie complained that Phil Dowd had treated the teams differently, especially when it came to giving yellow cards, but Arsene Wenger saw things differently.
When Robin van Persie made his first return to Arsenal yesterday, it was always going to be a major talking point. The Dutch striker, his new manager at Manchester United and Arsene Wenger were all expecting a hostile reception from the home fans. It could have been a lot worse, I thought, but some were surprised at the booing.
This is the big one for Arsenal. Forget all the hype and the talk of van Persie and the guard of honour, this is the most important game for the rest of the Gunners' season. A win against the newly crowned Premier League champions will put us in a fantastic position with three games against struggling teams left.
The Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen will probably be sitting on the bench today as the Gunners go up against the runaway Premier League champions Manchester United. It has been extremely painful and disappointing to see Arsenal fall away from challenging for the title since we last won it in 2004, but Vermaelen believes that the Arsenal players can use their disappointment to focus them to challenge United for supremacy again.
Arsenal welcome(sort of) Manchester United, who have won the English Premier League, to the Emirates today for a match that is decidedly crucial for the Gunners and perhaps a little less so for the Red Devils. Of course, along with the visit comes former Gunner and the man of the moment with a hat-trick in his very last game, Robin van Persie, who scored in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
It is aslmost nine years since Arsenal won the Premier League, but Arsene Wenger remembers what it feels like and the effect it can have on the players. Thinking about that, Wenger believes that Manchester United might ease off in the last few games of the season, but thinks they will still be on a high when they visit the Emirates tomorrow.
With Arsenal facing a massive match against the newly crowned Premier League champions this weekend, Theo Walcott will be hoping to get another chance to stake his claim as a centre forward because of the suspension of the regular front man Olivier Giroud.
Walcott has revealed the Le Prof and Fergie are not quite as chalk and cheese like as some people think.
However much fans groups try, or Wenger calls for respect, there will be no doubting the feeling of many Arsenal fans about Robin van Persie when Manchester United come to the Emirates on Sunday. The Arsemal players, however, need to try to ignore what is going on in the stands and not get caught up in the emotion.
The Man United manager Alex Ferguson has seen his team run away with this season's Premiership title, but he has been assessing the chances of the Red Devils retaining the title next year. It seems that he thinks Jose Mourinho will be returning to Stamford Bridge and could provide the biggest challenge, but he tips Arsenal to improve and threaten to surprise their rivals.
I know that some Arsenal fans have found it hard to be too angry with the former Gunner Robin van Persie. After eight years without a trophy they could understand that he wanted to move to Manchester United to win some silverware. The Dutchman has previously professed his love for Arsenal. the fans and Arsene Wenger as he tried to restrict the bad feeling of Gooners towards him.
Arsenal could be set for a summer transfer tussle with Manchester United over the French international midfielder Yohan Cabaye. Both clubs have been keeping a close eye on the 27-year old who has been at the centre of his current club Newcastle's return to form.
Newcastle signed Cabaye from the French Ligue 1 side Lille for less than £5 million and he has been brilliant for the Magpies since arriving.
Arsenal are ready to do some squad improvement, with Arsene Wenger set to have £70 million burning a hole in the pockets of his giant coat. There is room for improvement all over the pitch, so it will be interesting to see what Wenger thinks are the priorities. It sounds a lot, but £70 million does not buy many quality players these days, and there is no point buying squad players because we have plenty.
The news will not surprise Arsenal fans, but could be seen as a bit of a kick in the teeth for some of the other young players in the England international set up. Roy Hodgson has picked a squad to face Brazil in a friendly next week, but has left out a number of younger players, who will drop back down to the under 21s for the upcoming European championships this summer.
Arsenal are workinh hard to bring at least two quality players to the Emirates before the transfer window closes in just over a week. Most people seem to think that one of these will be a striker, with David Villa and Stevan Jovetic two possible transfer targets. The other is likely to be a defensive midfielder, possibly a player in the same mould as Abou Diaby.
Depending on which reports you read, The Gunners fan and Arsenal transfer target, Wilfried Zaha, has either already met Alex Ferguson and the deal is done, or had no contact with Manchester United at all. A few days ago, United apparently offered around £5 million for the 20-year old winger, which was rejected outright.
Sir Alex Ferguson has sung the praises of some of our young players, in light of Danny Welbeck's goal at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid this week.
Welbeck has been at the club since he was 9-years-old and grew up on the same street as Wes and Reece Brown. Ferguson reckons that Welbeck is part of the next generation of players to make their way up through the ranks who can serve as inspiration for our other young players.
1. No club has ever overturned a 12 points deficit with 12 games to go, which would make you think the title is ours this season, following our 2-0 win over Everton. Our 65 points from 26 games is a club record. As painful as last season was, you could argue that we are reaping the benefits of it now, with United determined to make amends and not throw away a title again.