Ferguson's top 25 Manchester United moments

Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT) November 4, 2011
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If there's one quote to associate with Ferguson's reign, it's surely that which he offered up in 2002. "My greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f**king perch...and you can print that," he said. When United claimed their 19th title last season, eclipsing Liverpool's record, he achieved his aim. Getty Images
It was the conversation that made everything possible. In the winter of 1992 United had a call from Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson, enquiring about the availability of Denis Irwin. Ferguson said no, but on a whim took the opportunity to ask whether Leeds striker Eric Cantona was for sale. What followed was a $1.9 million steal that opened the door to two decades of success. Getty Images
After his sending off against Argentina, David Beckham returned to England from the 1998 World Cup as the most vilified man in the country. Thanks to Ferguson's guidance and support, he proceeded to produce arguably the best season of his career, and begin his redemption to natural treasure. Getty Images
The 1995-96 Premier League season will be remembered for the moment Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan lost it on live television. Ferguson had claimed teams were trying harder to beat his team than Keegan's Newcastle, and the psychological battle was over before it began. "I'd love it if we beat them," a furious Keegan yelped. They didn't. Getty Images
The 1990 FA Cup Final was Ferguson's big chance to win a first major trophy, four years into his reign and with the vultures circling. After United drew 3-3 with Crystal Palace, he made one of the most difficult decisions of his career ahead of the replay -- dropping his friend Jim Leighton in goal and opting for Les Sealey instead. Getty Images
It's hard to imagine a United team without Ryan Giggs. But that's exactly what would have happened had Ferguson not devoted so many hours to convincing the teenager, and his parents, he should play for the red half of Manchester, not the blue. Getty Images
What do you do when the fans are up in arms over one of their favorite players leaving? Replace him with a better one, and give him the same shirt number. Getty Images
One of Ferguson's first tasks at United was to address the drinking culture in the first-team squad. The story goes that he had scouts all around Manchester, who would phone in sightings of players in bars and pubs, and keep Ferguson abreast of their whereabouts. Getty Images
On the opening day of the 1995-96 season, Ferguson fielded a team against Aston Villa that included the fresh faces of Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Gary and Phil Neville, with David Beckham coming off the bench. United lost 3-1, prompting BBC TV pundit Alan Hansen to say Ferguson would never win anything win kids. They went on to win the double. Getty Images
It was one thing to bring the good times back to United; quite another to extend them. Having won his first title in 1992-93, what Ferguson needed was a ferocious warrior to drive his team from midfield and set the standard for everybody around him. Enter Roy Keane, who would do just that for over a decade of warfare at the hub of his team. Getty Images
Jose Mourinho represented a new adversary for Ferguson when he arrived in England to manage Chelsea. 'The Special One' prevailed, winning two straight Premier League titles, but the relationship between the two men has always been one of mutual respect and admiration. There lives on a tradition of each trying to out-do the other by producing a better wine to share after games between their respective teams. Getty Images
Ferguson is a very proud, and very stubborn, man. When British broadcaster, the BBC, aired a documentary making allegations about his son Jason in 2004, he boycotted interviews with the network for seven long years. In August this year, and on his terms, Ferguson finally agreed to talk to them again. Getty Images
After hearing time and again about Arsene Wenger's soaring intellect, Ferguson decided it was time to debunk the myth. "They say he's an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages. I've got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages," he said of the Arsenal manager in 2003. Getty Images
Ferguson paid a club record $16.7 million for defender Jaap Stam, but after being exposed by Arsenal's Nicolas Anelka in the 1997 Charity Shield, the traditional curtain raiser to the English top flight season, the Dutchman was widely labelled a lumbering waste of space. Three league titles and a Treble later, Ferguson had them eating their words. Getty Images
With United 3-0 down at halftime against Southampton in 1996, Ferguson ordered his players to change shirts for the second half. He claimed their grey shirts had made it difficult for players to pick each other out against the crowds. Unsurprisingly, United never wore that kit again. Getty Images
When Ferguson was tipped off about a party at Lee Sharpe's house in the early 90s, he raced round to be greeted by the sight of a teenage Ryan Giggs holding a bottle of beer. Suffice to say, the party was over. Getty Images
Ruud van Nistelrooy was supposed to join United from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2000, but a serious knee injury thwarted the deal at the last minute. Ferguson was so convinced he waited nearly a year, keeping in regular contact with the Dutchman, before signing him the following spring. He was repaid with 150 goals in five prolific seasons at Old Trafford. Getty Images
When Steve Bruce headed home a dramatic winner for United against Sheffield Wednesday, at the culmination of the 1992-93 season, Ferguson and his assistant Brian Kidd leaped onto the Old Trafford turf in hysterical celebration. A first title in 26 years was all but assured and nine years of hard work had come to fruition. Getty Images
The 2002-03 season saw Manchester United chase down Arsenal's lead and win yet another title. As the race reached a climax, Ferguson gave us a quote that subsequently took its place in the footballing dictionary. "It's getting tickly now -- squeaky-bum time, I call it," he said. Getty Images
Ferguson has been in charge of over 2,000 games as United manager, and it's a rare sight to see him in the dugout without a piece of chewing gum in his mouth. Somewhere in Manchester there's a newsagent who lives off the great man's habit. Getty Images
In February 2003, Ferguson reacted to an FA Cup loss to Arsenal by kicking a boot in the direction of his most famous player. The boot hit Beckham on the forehead and prompted a media furore, but Ferguson refused to apologize. "If I'd tried it 100 times or a million times, it wouldn't happen again. If it did, I would carry on playing," he said. Getty Images
The 2001-02 season was to be Ferguson's last at United, and he announced the news before the start of the campaign. He thought it would inspire his team to reach the Champions League final at Hampden Park, a fitting end to his reign, but ultimately it proved an unsettling disaster for everybody concerned. On the advice of his wife, and the late Bobby Robson, he changed his mind the following February. Getty Images
Ferguson's pre-match teamtalk in the build-up their 2008 Champions League final against Chelsea in Moscow is the stuff of legend. Wayne Rooney said it "made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up." United went on to beat Chelsea in a dramatic penalty shoot-out, and Ferguson once again had his hands on the Holy Grail. Getty Images
United lost Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011 to Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, and both times Ferguson proved a humble loser. "No one has given us a hiding like that," he said after going down 3-1 at Wembley in May. "It's a great moment for them. They deserve it because they play the right way and enjoy their football." Getty Images
In 1999 Ferguson took his team to the Champions League final in Barcelona, needing victory against Bayern Munich to complete the most remarkable season in British football history. With United 1-0 down and the clock at 90 minutes, substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivered the most dramatic victory imaginable. "Football. Bloody Hell," Ferguson said afterwards. He was made a Knight -- an order in the British honours system that affords the recipient the title of 'Sir' -- by the Queen, a few months later. Getty Images