MARK ROBINS, the man once credited with saving Sir Alex Ferguson's job, today paid tribute to the retiring Manchester United manager by saying: "He's the best manager this country and, possibly, the world has ever seen."
Huddersfield Town manager Robins, 43, netted United's winning goal in an FA Cup third round tie at Nottingham Forest in January 1990 when media speculation suggested Sir Alex would lose his job if they lost.
Robins does not buy into that theory and says it would be disrespectful to even think about such a prospect after 13 Premiership title wins and 49 trophy successes overall for the 71-year-old.
"I was sad when I heard the news he was retiring and it's incredible to think that anyone under the age of 28 has known nothing else other than Sir Alex Ferguson being Manchester United manager," said Robins, who played for the club from 1986 to 1992.
"This is a time to celebrate what he has achieved in his career, which is nothing short of magnificent, and he is absolutely the best manager this country and, possibly, the world has ever seen.
"He was great to play for and, when he came in, he embraced the history of the club and took it by the scruff of the neck, introducing younger players to the squad and ending up with that wonderful team including David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the rest.
"He also blooded a lot of other kids along the way and I was one of the first to get that great opportunity. He helped a lot of people have really long and successful football careers."
On the famous Forest cup-tie, he added: "I think that whole thing needs to be put to bed.
"Whatever anybody says it was all speculation at the time, nothing more than that.
"If the unthinkable had happened, we wouldn't have seen the dynasty he has created at United and I think it's disrespectful to even speak about it.
"This is a time for celebrating the achievements he has had and the way he has gone about his job, not just at United but in regard to football in general, because he does a hell of a lot of work which goes unseen, he helps a lot of people with things which are unknown about, he has played a big role in the League Managers' Association and he does incredible amounts for charity."
Full story in tomorrow's Examiner