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Monday, 28 February, 2000, 22:35 GMT
City honours Man Utd boss
Sir Alex stands by the wall of fame
Sir Alex by Manchester Town Hall's wall of fame
Sir Alex Ferguson has received the Freedom of the City of Manchester - but only three of his treble-winning team were able to attend.

Injured players Wes Brown, David May and Ronnie Johnsen watched as their boss was given the honour in a 10-minute ceremony.

The rest of the team, although invited, adhered to club rules, which place a 48-hour ban on going out before a game.


You travel and travel during your life and at some time you reach your destination - I think I have reached mine now

Sir Alex Ferguson
United take on Bordeaux on Wednesday at home in phase two of the Uefa Champions League.

Sir Alex said he had been very moved by the ceremony and felt he was an "adopted Mancunian".

"You travel and travel during your life and at some time you reach your destination and I think I have reached mine now," he said.

The decision to give the freedom of the city to Sir Alex, already a freeman of Glasgow and Aberdeen, was made by Manchester City Council last July, after he led Manchester United to the treble.

Sir Alex, 57, was knighted in 1999 after guiding his team to the English Premiership title, the FA Cup and the European Cup.

He was awarded an OBE in 1984 and is only the eighth football manager or player to receive a knighthood.

Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex was 'moved' by the ceremony
Arriving at the ceremony Sir Alex was greeted by seven Greater Manchester Police trumpeters and Lord Mayor Tony Burns.

His wife, Lady Cathy, and footballing son Darren watched with local dignitaries, civil leaders and businessman as he was bestowed with the honour, the highest a city can give.

Sir Alex follows in the footsteps of the club's legendary manager, Sir Matt Busby, who received a similar accolade in 1967.

His name is now inscribed on a wall of fame alongside Sir Matt's, and Sir Winston Churchill.

Chief executive of the council Howard Bernstein paid tribute to Sir Alex's footballing and managing prowess and his tireless charity work.

"In November 1986, Sir Alex was appointed manager of Manchester United Football Club and set about building a team based on the principles of hard work, team spirit and discipline, combined with skill, speed and mobility.

"He is also a keen ambassador for sport and a steadfast supporter of the city of Manchester."

Sir Alex was given a painting by Harold Riley as a gift from the council.

He is a keen collector of the Salford artist's paintings and after the ceremony said he already had 14 and would have to find space in which to hang the latest, an oil painting of Manchester United's Cliff training ground.

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See also:

12 Jun 99 |  Queens birthday honours
Knighthood for treble-winner Ferguson
26 May 99 |  Football
Fergie modest despite victory
27 May 99 |  Uniteds Euro Showdown
The architects of Old Trafford
22 May 99 |  FA Cup
Delight for Fergie
04 May 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Ferguson signs new Man U deal
12 Jun 99 |  Football
Sir Alex: The working class hero
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