The Arsenal manager has suggested he saw the signs that the Scot would be retiring at the end of the season and insists it came as no surprise to him when it was revealed
Arsene Wenger has revealed he saw the signs that Sir Alex Ferguson would be retiring at the end of the season and says his absence will “create a void” for English football and Manchester United.
The 71-year-old announced his retirement in May and has been praised by the Arsenal manager for his illustrious career with the 20-time league champions.
When asked whether Sir Alex would be missed by Manchester United and English football, Wenger was honest in his assessment.
“Of course,” he told Al Jazeera Sport.”He was hardworking, driven by success and was dominant figure of English football with uniterrupted success for 20 years.
“He was the front man of the club and you have to take all the pressure and flack you get, and now somebody else will have to stand up.
“People don’t realise how difficult it is to be in the public eye and take the pressure without showing weakness. He has done that for years and sometimes in a scary way.
“I told my staff a long time ago that it would be the last season of Ferguson – one of the signs was he was over-motivated. But we must give him credit, he has never showed any obvious sign that the future was not of any interest to him. People thought he would stay forever.
“I think he is better equipped [to deal with retirement] than I am because of his passion for horses and golf.”
Wenger and Ferguson were known for their vociferous spats which were prevalent in the 2000s, but the Frenchman says their attitude towards each other mellowed out as they got older.
“It was very difficult for years and over the years it moved to a more respectful attitude and more understanding,” he added.
“It was aggressive and reached a point where it was a very bad level. We have gained respect as we have aged. It is a superficial relationship with other managers.
“After the game there is always one very happy [manager] and one very angry so it is not the best platform to have a good exchange of views.”