MANCHESTER, England —
“Things changed when Cathy’s sister died,” Ferguson said in a TV interview. “She is isolated a lot now. I owe (Cathy) a lot of my own time. For 47 years, she has been the leader of the family, looked after our three sons, sacrificed herself for me. Now she has all her grandchildren.
“She lost her best friend, her sister Bridget, so that was important. Also, I wanted to go out a winner. That’s the most important thing I’ve wanted to be.”
The Associated Press was unable to report from Old Trafford on Sunday because of what the club said was high demand from rights holders for press tribune access. This report is based on television coverage.
Ferguson will always be a winner — 13 league titles, two Champions League titles, five FA Cups and four League Cups is testament to that. That Rio Ferdinand slammed home a volley in the 87th minute against Swansea to clinch Ferguson’s final home victory in his 1,499th game as United manager summed up the determination and drive embedded in the Scot’s teams down the years.
He began the day posing for pictures with ball boys in the depths of Old Trafford, his place of work since 1986.
Then came his first appearance in front of the crowd, striding through the guard of honor and applauding fans, with a sea of red flags and a mosaic with the words “Champions 2013” providing an eye-catching backdrop.
“Fergie Rules,” read one banner. “Sir Alex - Immortal,” read another in the Stretford End.
He had almost reached the center of the pitch before he turned to make his way to the dugout, stopping briefly to sign autographs and to wave to fans.
During the match, Ferguson was his usual self — furiously chewing gum, leaping to his feet to contest a refereeing decision, checking his watch. All the hallmarks that make Ferguson who he is.