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Fergie arrives for work as quit talk grows

FERGIE-HUGMANCHESTER, United Kingdom, May 08 – Alex Ferguson arrived for work as usual on Wednesday, as rumours raged that he is about to sensationally step down as manager of Manchester United after 26 years at the club.

Ferguson, 71, drove into United’s Carrington training complex, southeast of Manchester, at around 0650 local time (0550GMT) but did not speak to a group of waiting journalists.

British media reports breaking late on Tuesday claimed Ferguson was considering announcing his retirement, sparking furious speculation about the identity of his successor.

Bookmakers reported a rush of bets on Everton manager David Moyes to succeed his fellow Scot, while Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is reported to be another strong contender.

United have not officially addressed the reports, but they would need to make a statement about any managerial changes to the New York Stock Exchange, where the club is listed.

The club recently announced that Ferguson is to undergo hip replacement surgery in August, but he has previously insisted that he has had no thoughts of stepping down.

Writing in the United programme prior to Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at home to Chelsea in the Premier League, he wrote: “I certainly don’t have any plans at the moment to walk away from what I believe will be something special.”

Ferguson previously announced plans to retire in 2001, only to reverse his decision months later.

He has been at United since November 1986 and is the most successful manager in the history of English football.

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In his time at Old Trafford, he has led the club from the English northwest to 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, and two Champions League titles, as well as a host of other honours.

United claimed an unprecedented 20th English league title last month, having narrowly lost out to local rivals Manchester City the previous season.

During Ferguson’s tenure, United have become one of the most famous teams in world sport, with American business magazine Forbes recently reporting that they are worth $3.17 billion (2.42 billion euros).

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