Former Manchester United favourites Paul Ince and David Beckham have lauded outgoing manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who announced his imminent retirement on Wednesday.
The 71-year-old confirmed his decision on Wednesday morning, bringing to an end 26 years of astonishing success at Old Trafford.
"I remember the first day that I went to Manchester United," Ince recalled to Sky Sports after the announcement. "I failed my medical and I thought my move was going to collapse.
"The way he treated me was like a son and I'll never forget that moment.
"To play under such a man, he was so demanding. His standards were so high. Yeah, we had our ups and downs – he had a lot of ups and downs with most of the players in that 1992-93 season – but as far as just total respect, the man was immense. He got the best out of me as a player, that's for sure.
"When I was at Blackburn [as a manager] and things weren't going well, we played Manchester United at Old Trafford and I spent 15 or 20 minutes in his office.
"He said to me: 'The only advice I can give you is don't let players take the mickey out of you. Don't give them anything because, if you give them an inch, they'll take a mile. The higher you go, you've got to be really stern in that message'."
Speaking before the relevation of Ferguson's retirement, former charge Beckham hailed the Scot as perhaps having made a greater difference to his side than any other coach.
The Paris Saint-Germain star opined: "The impact that he has with the team, the players and the fans ... I don't think there's anyone around in football that has had that impact, ever."