David Gill: Succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson will be difficult, but not impossible

On Wednesday the 71-year-old confirmed reports that he will step down as Manchester United's manager at the end of the season after 26 years in charge of the Red Devils

Manchester United chief executive David Gill believes that Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor will face a difficult task in replacing the legendary Scot, but not an impossible one.

After reports began to circulate on Tuesday night about Sir Alex’s retirement plans, the club and the manager revealed on Wednesday morning that he would indeed be stepping down at the end of the season.

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As revealed by Goal.com, David Moyes is expected to become the club’s next manager and Gill, also set to leave United in the coming weeks, does not believe the new man in charge – whoever it may be – will have an impossible job on their hands.

“I don’t know if it’s the great unknown, but change always increases the element of risk,” he told The Times.

“Lots of jobs are deemed to be impossible. I don’t think it’s an impossible job, you are coming in with a very impressive support structure on and off the pitch in terms of the players and facilities.

“It’s tricky because we always knew [that for] anyone coming after Alex, and all those trophies he has won, it is not going to be easy. But it’s a great job.

“The best people in my experience, in business and football, want to get to the top, they want to manage the best, and what better way to do it than here. The opportunity to manage Manchester United has got to be the pinnacle of a person’s career.

“It’s a difficult job, but the rewards reflect that. It’s not a walk in the park, you have got to be good, so we want a person at the top who is willing to take on that mantle and the pressure that comes with it and deliver.”

Gill is certain Sir Alex will take an immediate step back, and is unlikely to visit the training ground, in order to give the new manager space to stamp his own personality on his new surroundings without being in the 71-year-old's enormous shadow.

“Alex will give the new manager space,” Gill added. “He certainly won’t go on the pre-season tour [in July].

“It’s like me, I won’t go on the tour, it’s totally wrong. So I’d be very surprised if he [Ferguson] was at Carrington in the early days.”