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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 28, 2009

Charlton: Long term plan promises success

Sir Bobby Charlton is confident a template is in place which will ensure Manchester United continue to challenge for major honours despite the disappointing defeat to Barcelona.

Charlton was at the Stadio Olimpico to watch his beloved Red Devils be taught a lesson by Pep Guardiola's treble winners.

However, no one should lose sight of the fact this remains a golden era for the Old Trafford outfit.

Merely by reaching the final in defence of the crown they won last season, United broke new ground, and achieved a first since Juventus also lost in their return 12 years ago.

Next season Sir Alex Ferguson's side will attempt to become the first team in English football history to win four successive league titles, so with the Carling Cup and Club World Cup also pocketed this season, it is hardly the time for a prolonged period of mourning.

And, with Ferguson at the helm and ready for the battle once more, despite his 67 years, Charlton has no fears for the future.

''We know it is going to be tough and hard even to win your own league, but the long-term plan gives you a consistency,'' said Charlton.

''The plans Alex Ferguson is putting in place now will be there long after he has gone, which I hope is not for a long time yet.

''Sir Alex is a unique person. He thrives on success. The more he gets the more he wants. The long-term plan has always been part of his philosophy.''

Ferguson clearly faces some big decisions this summer, particularly concerning the futures of Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo, and who should come in if either of the pair eventually end up leaving Old Trafford.

Yet Charlton is confident the Scot will find the right answers and, crucially, will be given the freedom to implement them, having proved his worth many times over in equalling Liverpool's record of 18 English championships.

''There is a common denominator between what happened at Liverpool in the 1970s and 80s and what is happening at Manchester United now,'' claimed Charlton.

''The directors at Liverpool gave Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan pretty much everything they wanted to make sure they had a long-term plan.

''It has been exactly the same since Alex Ferguson came to Manchester United and there is no way that situation will ever change.''

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