Sir Alex Ferguson timeline at Manchester United

Posted by Miguel Delaney

Sir Alex Ferguson is unveiled as the new Manchester United manager by Martin Edwards on November 5, 1986PA Photos1986: Alex Ferguson (no "Sir" back then) is unveiled as Manchester United manager by chairman Martin Edwards.

1986: Alex Ferguson leaves Aberdeen to take over Manchester United after the sacking of Ron Atkinson.

1988: United finish second in the league, their highest finish since 1979-80.

1989: Gradually realising the need for a drastic overhaul of the squad to finally win the league, Ferguson signals the club's intent by breaking the British transfer record to sign Gary Pallister for £2.3 million from Middlesbrough.

1990: Ferguson wins the first trophy of his reign as United beat Crystal Palace 1-0 in an FA Cup final replay after a 3-3 draw. A Mark Robins third-round goal against Nottingham Forest proves a true turning point in his tenure.

1991: United claim only their second European trophy with victory in the Cup Winners' Cup as a Mark Hughes double beats Barcelona 2-1 in Rotterdam.

1992: Anguish as the team's title dream is ended by Leeds United late in the season. A number of knockout runs that do lead to a League Cup win -- with a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest in the final -- also creates the fixture congestion that eventually costs United. Eric Cantona is signed in November, which Ferguson later cites as one of the most important signings of his tenure.

1993: A painful 26-year wait for the title finally ends as United finish 10 points clear of Aston Villa. Ferguson seeks to strengthen the club's position as Roy Keane is bought from Nottingham Forest for a British-record £3.75 million.

1994: United win the first league and FA Cup double of their history and become only the sixth side in English history to do so.

1995: In a controversial, chaotic season that sees Cantona receive a nine-month suspension for attacking a fan and the club again break the British transfer record by signing Andy Cole from Newcastle United for £7 million, a third successive title is lost on the last day with a 1-1 draw at West Ham United. A 1-0 defeat to Everton in the FA Cup also leads Ferguson to make wholesale changes to the squad and place his faith in the FA Youth Cup-winning side of 1992.

One of Man United's greatest title wins came in 1996 when they clawed back a 12-point gap in January to overhaul Kevin Keegan's NewcastleGettyImagesOne of Man United's greatest title wins came in 1996, when they clawed back from a 12-point gap in January to overhaul Kevin Keegan's Newcastle.

1996: The club win quite a lot with kids, as the talismanic Cantona guides a youthful side to a second league and FA Cup double. The French forward hits a later winner in the Wembley showpiece against Liverpool.

1997: United claim a fourth title in five years, but another series of difficult nights in the Champions League plays a part in Cantona's end-of-season retirement.

1998: Ferguson suffers only his second trophyless season in nine years as Arsenal overhaul United in the league to win the double.

1999: The greatest moment in the club's history as a stunning comeback against Bayern Munich completes an unprecedented treble. Ferguson is later knighted in the Queen's birthday honours.
2000: United finish 18 points clear of Arsenal to retain the title.

2001: The Old Trafford club become only the third in English history -- after Huddersfield 1923-26 and Liverpool 1981-84 -- to win three titles in a row.

2002: Ferguson changes plans to retire and signs a new three-year deal, although the drop-off his initial announcement causes sees United finish outside the top two for the first time since 1991.

2003: United reclaim the title from Arsenal with a late-season rally, although a number of controversies arise as David Beckham departs for Real Madrid after a dressing-room bust-up and Ferguson launches legal action against major United shareholder John Magnier over stud rights to racehorse Rock of Gibraltar.

2004: As Arsenal win the league with an unbeaten season, Ferguson captures what would end up being his last FA Cup. Signs Wayne Rooney from Everton for a fee that could rise to £27 million.

2005: Ferguson suffers arguably the most difficult year since the early 1990s as United lose the FA Cup final to Arsenal on penalties, the club is controversially taken over by the Glazer family and the departure of Keane reflects a hugely different winter that also sees United knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage.

2006: Despite another high-profile player dispute with the exit of Ruud van Nistelrooy, a 4-0 League Cup final win over Wigan points to the beginning of a new cycle.

2007: United end their longest run without a title since 1993 by finishing ahead of Chelsea in rousing fashion. The Stamford Bridge club, however, deny Ferguson another double with a 1-0 FA Cup final win.

2008: Ferguson wins his second European Cup by defeating Chelsea in the Moscow final on penalties and United also just pip the Stamford Bridge side to the league title.

2009: United become the first English club to win a three in a row for a second time, but fail to win that fourth European Cup, as Barcelona usher in a new era in European football with a 2-0 victory in the Rome final. Another League Cup is added with a penalty shootout victory over Tottenham.

2010: Ferguson misses out on a historic, fourth successive championship to Chelsea on the last day, but United claim the League Cup again with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa. Ferguson also becomes United's longest-serving manager.

Pep Guardiola and Sir Alex Ferguson embrace before the 2011 Champions League final - but Guardiola's Barcelona lifted the trophy against United in both 2009 and 2011GettyImagesPep Guardiola and Sir Alex Ferguson embrace before the 2011 Champions League final, but Guardiola's Barcelona lifted the trophy against United in 2009 and 2011.

2011: History is made again as United finally overtake Liverpool to win their 19th title. Once more, though, Barcelona frustrate Ferguson in Europe with a 3-1 win in the Champions League final.

2012: United suffer the ultimate anguish as their local rivals Manchester City win the title with one of the last kicks of the season.

2013: Ferguson seals that 20th title and his own 13th at Old Trafford before announcing his retirement on May 8.

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