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May 24, 2011

United boss Ferguson scoops LMA prize

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been named Manager of the Year by his fellow league managers, the third occasion he has won the prize in its 18-year history.

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The League Managers Association is known for producing winners away from the side that has lifted the Premier League title and this was only the fifth occasion the championship-winning chief has also scooped the Manager of the Year award.

In what is perhaps a positive omen for Ferguson, who guided United to a record 19th league title this season, United have gone on to win the Champions League the other two times he has won the prize - in 1999 and 2008.

Speaking via video link from Old Trafford, where he had chosen to attend United's FA Youth Cup final second leg instead of the LMA ceremony in London, Ferguson spoke of his delight at winning the main award and also a special merit award for having passed 2,000 matches as manager.

"I really do appreciate being named LMA Manager of the Year and being honoured with the LMA Special Merit Award," Ferguson said. "It's been such a competitive Barclays Premier League this season and I'd like to congratulate all of the managers, both in this league and throughout the divisions, on a job well done this season.

"The work the LMA are doing and the foresight they are showing is fantastic. We have to support the belief that we are doing the right things and the help that we can give to all facets of the game.''

LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson and chief executive Richard Bevan both paid tribute to Ferguson, who guided United to the Premier League title and this Saturday's Champions League final as he approaches 25 years at the Old Trafford helm.

Wilkinson said: "Sir Alex is fully deserving of this recognition, once again he has demonstrated genius at critical moments this season. It's not just his longevity in the game at one of the world's biggest clubs which is remarkable, but his consistent delivery of success in over 35 years in football management.''

Bevan added: "What Sir Alex has achieved this season, both personally and with Manchester United, is extraordinary. At the LMA we are also extremely grateful for the amount of time and dedication he willingly provides to our association and our members.

"On behalf of the LMA, I wish Sir Alex and the Manchester United players the very best for this week's UEFA Champions League Final at Wembley. It will be a tremendous feat if they can lift the trophy at the home of English football.''

Ferguson also used the occasion to lend his support to former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked on Sunday a year after leading the Blues to a domestic Double.

"Carlo you are a fantastic man and you have showed great courage in coming to the dinner tonight, well done," Ferguson said.

Norwich's Paul Lambert was the named the Championship manager of the year - the Canaries were promoted to the Premier League after finishing runners-up to QPR, while Brighton's Gus Poyet picked up the League One award and Chesterfield's John Sheridan won the League Two prize.

The LMA service to football award was given to Jimmy Hill, for his lifetime's work as a player, manager, chairman and broadcaster.

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