Sir Alex relishes the challenge

Sir Alex Ferguson describes his appointment as UEFA Coaching Ambassador as "an honour and a privilege" and is looking forward to helping young coaches develop.

UEFA President Michel Platini (R) and Sir Alex Ferguson (L) shake hands following the appointment of Sir Alex Ferguson as a UEFA Coaching Ambassador at the UEFA headquarters, Nyon
UEFA President Michel Platini (R) and Sir Alex Ferguson (L) shake hands following the appointment of Sir Alex Ferguson as a UEFA Coaching Ambassador at the UEFA headquarters, Nyon ©Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson is relishing the task of bringing his vast experience to the service of European football's coaching sector in his new role as UEFA Coaching Ambassador.

Sir Alex, who enjoyed a brilliant 35-year coaching career before retiring last May, has been appointed to the position by UEFA's Executive Committee. Following the committee's latest meeting in Nyon today, he said how much he was looking forward to giving back to football, especially by assisting young coaches in their development.

"It's an honour and a privilege to accept this role," said Sir Alex. "With the experience I've had over the years I hope to continue to help young coaches, in particular, in an industry which is becoming more difficult. I look forward to the challenge, I look forward to contributing in a big way for UEFA, and I thank [UEFA President] Michel Platini for giving me this opportunity."

Sir Alex's playing days in Scotland took in Queen's Park FC, Saint Johnstone FC, Dunfermline Athletic FC, Rangers FC, Falkirk FC and Ayr United FC, and he began his managerial career with East Stirlingshire FC and Saint Mirren FC before enjoying great success with Aberdeen FC. He guided the Pittodrie team to the 1982/83 European Cup Winners' Cup, the 1983 UEFA Super Cup as well as three Scottish Premier League titles and four Scottish Cups. In addition, he led Scotland on a caretaker basis in the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico after the death of Jock Stein.

Sir Alex was named Manchester United FC manager in November 1986 and steered the Old Trafford side to two UEFA Champions League triumphs, a Cup Winners' Cup, a UEFA Super Cup, 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and four English League Cups.

"I've always enjoyed working with young people and I can continue to do this in this role," the 72-year-old Scot reflected, adding that he will also be imparting experience and advice to top club coaches, notably as chairman of UEFA's annual Elite Club Coaches Forum, where tactical and technical trends are discussed and proposals made for improvement and development.

He spoke in Nyon about the difficulties facing coaches in the game today. "Time is not an issue in modern-day football, because it's become a result industry – I would say to every young coach that they should make sure to prepare, to give themselves the best opportunity by preparing to be a top coach, and to make sure they take the UEFA licence, this is really important.

"Of course, the sacrifices they have got to make are obvious – you can't go into football and not sacrifice. Ask any manager's wife exactly what sacrifice means, because [coaches] are working all the time, they are at games, they are training and coaching. Coaches have to understand this when they start as a coach."

Sir Alex has already started giving the benefit of his vast knowledge to European coaches, as a guest at the UEFA Coach Education Workshop in Budapest last October.

In his new UEFA function, he will continue to attend Coach Education Workshops, as well as UEFA National Team Coaches Conferences and the UEFA Coach Education Student Exchange programme courses, passing on his unique insights to the next coaching generation.