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Man United's Lucky Day 05/02/02


BBC Sport's Alan Hansen says the Manchester United board should be delighted that Sir Alex Ferguson wants to stay at Old Trafford.

The way that Manchester United have fought back from a desperate start to the season shows what they are all about. Their players are still desperate to win things, despite years of success. That will remain the case while Sir Alex Ferguson is at the helm at Old Trafford.

And that is why the news that he wants to stay on will be greeted with great relief by the club and its fans. I doubt whether the United board will need too long to decide whether to accept Fergie's offer to stay on.

Ferguson knows the players and the club like no-one else. He has an incredible pedigree of success in English football - nobody else comes close. And this season he has shown that he still has the hunger, passion and desire to continue being successful.

Fergie staying on will give United's board a bit of breathing space before they get a new manager.
It seems that the main candidates for the job - the likes of Ottmar Hitzfeld, Martin O'Neill and Fabio Capello - are more likely to move to Old Trafford in 18 months' time than they are now. They are all under contract at big clubs at the moment.

By keeping Fergie on, United will have continuity before a new man comes in. And the star players who have, or are about to, start contract negotiations, such as David Beckham and Roy Keane, are far more likely to stay with Fergie at the helm.

I don't know exactly why Ferguson has changed his mind and decided to stay. He has probably decided he's too young to retire and thought "I'm going to miss this". He still has the passion, desire and hunger for the job.

I worked with some great managers, such as Bob Paisley, and their passion for the game never diminished. Ferguson is no different. The way that United have come back in the last 12 or 13 games shows the desire that Fergie still has. That passion has infused his players.

United's great run might also have persuaded Fergie to stay on. I don't think Ferguson's change of heart will be unsettle his players. Most of them, such as Beckham, the Nevilles, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, have grown up with him. The uncertainty will only creep in when a new manager arrives.

United have had a difficult season. There was no way that they could coast to the title like they did last season - the other teams have improved and made it difficult for them.

But the way that United have roared back shows how important Ferguson is to the club.