Sir Alex Ferguson will step down as Manchester United manager at the end of the 2012-13 season, according to Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan.
Ferguson, 70, has been at the United helm since 1986, leading the club to incredible success during his tenure which has included 12 Premier League titles.
The Scot has toyed with the idea of calling time on his coaching days, announcing plans to do so at the end of the 2001-02 campaign, but then decided to stay on as Red Devils manager. Although in December 2011 he did set a timeframe when he expressed his hope that he will be in charge at Old Trafford for three more years.
Whelan, however, believes his close friend will step down at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, telling ESPN: "After next season, Sir Alex will call it a day. The pressure is telling, especially when you are at the top for so long.
"The older you get the harder it is to cope with all that pressure, and eventually it will affect you. Sir Alex is resilient and I know he will want to carry on until he drops, and I respect what he has achieved as everyone does.
"In fact, I would say he is the best manager that there has ever been, and if and when he does pack it in, he will be an enormous loss to the game, that's for sure.
"The way he has had such unparalleled success, the way he knows how to choose the right players and then get even more out of them, that makes him the best manager ever, the best we have ever seen.
"I am sure his intention was to carry on for two or three, maybe even more years, but he has had a little scare in the last week or so and that tells me he will think very hard, and realise there is no point trying to carry on for another five years and take the risk."