PICTURE SPECIAL – Fergie through the years: Sportsmail looks back through the archives to see how a Glasgow boy went from baby-faced assassin to Manchester United and football’s biggest personality
He’s arguably the greatest manager of all-time and definitely the most successful in terms of trophy wins – Sir Alex Ferguson is celebrating his 80th birthday this New Year’s Eve after an incredible life in football.
The Glasgow-born young striker emerged into one of football’s biggest personalities, becoming a cult hero at Aberdeen before his incredible 26-year career at Manchester United.
From his infamous ‘hairdryer treatment’ to the tactical genius that made him the only manager in English football to win the Treble, Ferguson dominated both the front and the back pages of Britain’s broadsheets as he forged a career that has yet to be matched.
As Fergie celebrates his special landmark, Sportsmail goes through the archives to bring you the best photos from his playing days in Scotland to the champagne farewell at Old Trafford.
Govan-born Alex Ferguson first became known in football by scoring a hat-trick for St Johnstone against Rangers in 1963
After St Johnstone, Ferguson (bottom row, second right) also turned out for Dunfermline Athletic where he scored 66 times
A young Ferguson relaxing at home during his Dunfermline Athletic days, reading about the history of the Second World War
The striker then completed a move to Rangers in 1967 where he spent two years and scored 25 goals in 45 matches
Ferguson playing in one of his first Rangers games against Arsenal in August 1967 – his first of many clashes with the Gunners
Ferguson then moved to Falkirk in 1969 where he played 95 times (pictured: Fergie walking off after being sent off for Falkirk)
After ending his career at Ayr, he started coaching at East Stirlingshire and then St Mirren with assistant David Proven (right)
Ferguson (left) discussing important tactical instructions with St Mirren assistant Proven (right) in the dressing room bath
The Fergies: Alex (second left) with wife Cathy (left) and twins Jason and Darren as Ferguson continues his coaching rise
Putting the Dons on the map: Ferguson moved to Aberdeen and took them to the final of the 1982 European Cup Winners’ Cup
Ferguson (left) with trusted assistant Archie Knox (right) after winning the 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup with Aberdeen
The top job: Alex Ferguson after being appointed Manchester United manager in 1986 – the start of 26 years at Old Trafford
Ferguson in the Manchester United dugout during his first game as Red Devils boss at Oxford United on November 8, 1986
The first of many: Alex Ferguson with the 1990 FA Cup, which was the first of 38 trophies with Manchester United
Manchester United back on top of English football: Ferguson leads United to the inaugural Premier League title in 1993
The Treble: Ferguson with his 1999 Manchester United squad after beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League final
Ferguson with 1999 Champions League matchwinner Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (right) after the final victory over Bayern Munich
Serial winners: Fergie celebrates bringing three Premier League titles in a row – in 1999, 2000 and 2001 – back to Old Trafford
Ferguson celebrates 1,000 games with Man United in November 2004 with a celebratory cake at the Sports Editors’ Lunch
Rivalry: Ferguson (right) shouting alongside arch-rival Arsene Wenger (left) of Arsenal in a heated 2005 Premier League game
Back on top: Ferguson with Cristiano Ronaldo (right) after winning a second Champions League title in Moscow in 2008
The end: Sir Alex Ferguson waves goodbye to Manchester United with one last trophy lift – the 2013 Premier League title
Ferguson, who has now been retired for eight years, attends Boxing Day’s King George VI Chase Day at Kempton Park