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Ferguson praises outgoing Gill

20 February 2013 13:40

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has praised David Gill after the chief executive announced he will step down in June.

Gill has called time on his current at Old Trafford after 10 years in the position, and while he will remain as a director on the board, he will be concentrating on the 2013 UEFA Executive Committee elections as the FA's candidate.

The 71-year-old manager suggests that while he and the 55-year-old have had disagreements in the past, he admires the chief executive's honesty and wishes he could have persuaded him to stay.

"I have been at United for over 26 years and for 23 of those years my boss has been one of only two men: Martin Edwards, who brought me to the club, and David Gill. I have enjoyed working with both," he told the club's official website.

"David has been a magnificent chief executive. Of course, we have had a million arguments, but I have always enjoyed them because I know that David has two great qualities: he is straight and he always puts Manchester United first.

"Him stepping down is a big loss to me but the fact that he is staying on the board encourages me that the reason for his departure is heartfelt, that he believes it is time for the club to move on."

Ferguson regrets that he was unable to persuade Gill to stay in his role, but wishes him well for the future and believes he has always put the club first rather than himself.

"If I could have found a way of persuading him to stay I would love to have done that. But he has made his decision and I respect him for it," he said.

"He has been, and will continue to be, a fantastic success for Manchester United. He has all the qualities of successful people ingrained in him: energy, honesty, integrity, personality and decision-making ability. I wish him well in whatever new challenges he will tackle in the future.

"No disagreement is ever personal with him. He always wants the best for United, whether it's the players, the training ground or the staff."

Gill admits it was a hard decision to leave a club where he has experienced 'such highs'.

"It has been the greatest privilege to serve Manchester United for 16 wonderful years - the last 10 of which as its chief executive," he said.

"I have worked alongside the finest manager in the history of the game and been part of what I consider to be the best club in the best sport in the world.

"It has been a very hard decision because I love this club and, as the fans' banner says, it is, 'more than a religion'. I've experienced some incredible highs, such as the treble in 1999 and the League and Champions League double in 2008, and lows, like losing the title with the last kick of the season last year. But that is what makes this club and this sport so compelling.

"However, I have always been conscious of the fact that, as a member of staff, I was always just a temporary custodian of this marvellous institution. I am also of the view that all businesses need to refresh themselves with new management and ideas and after 10 years in charge I believe it is appropriate for someone new to pick up the baton.

"I'd like to thank the Glazer family and my fellow directors for all their support over the years."

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will take over his role at Old Trafford.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
5 34 +21 66
6 34 +0 60
7 33 +18 57
8 34 +5 48
9 34 -14 46

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