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Tuesday, July 20, 1999 Published at 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK

Sport: Football

Sir Alex's crowning glory

Arise, Sir Alex: He is the UK's only current knighted football manager

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has been knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, crowning his team's "treble" success.

Sir Alex, 57, was created a Knight Bachelor in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in June. He is only the eighth football manager or player to receive a knighthood.

Paul Newman reports: The Queen and Sir Alex share a passion for race horses
The honour is the culmination of a season which saw his team win an unprecedented haul of the FA Cup, Premiership and European Cup trophies.

Sir Alex said: "The Queen told me she doesn't think it will ever be achieved again - and she's right.

United's treble triumph
"The culmination of three trophies was the pinnacle of my career and it has been rewarded with a knighthood."

Sir Alex said he also talked to the Queen about their mutual interest in horses. "Her Majesty said she hoped I would have time for my horses - I own two and have shares in four," he said.

"Football management is such a pressurised thing - horseracing is a release. I'm also learning to play the piano - I'm quite determined - it's another release from the pressure of my job."

[ image: Raising standards: Sir Alex Ferguson, holding the Premiership trophy]
Raising standards: Sir Alex Ferguson, holding the Premiership trophy
Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a highly unusual move, is understood to have re-opened the so-called "People's List" to include the Manchester United manager.

Already a CBE - Commander of the British Empire - the 57-year-old from Govan, Glasgow, is a working-class boy who now graces the biggest stages of world sport.

When he was 12 years old he chose football to try and escape poverty wages in the shipbuilding industry.

Greater glory

His footballing career began at Rangers, and he then played for Queen's Park, St Johnstone, Dunfermline, Falkirk and Ayr.

Management followed with East Stirling, St Mirren and a very successful spell with Aberdeen before he moved south of the border.

Manchester United are going for even greater glory next year in the World Club Championships in Brazil after controversially pulling out of the FA Cup.

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