Northern Ireland

Sir Alex Ferguson hungry for more trophies: Sammy McIlroy

Sir Alex Ferguson
Image caption Sir Alex Ferguson is contemplating his next European Cup win

He's the man fans of rival teams love to hate but no-one doubts that Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the most successful soccer managers of all time.

The fiery Scotsman celebrates 25 years with Manchester United on Sunday.

His relationship with the Red Devils began in 1986 when the club had not won the league for 19 years.

It took him seven years to win his first title and he was on the verge of being dumped when an FA Cup win saved him.

Under Ferguson's management in 1,409 games, including Wednesday's Champions League home win over Otelul Galati, the team has won 37 major trophies including two European Cups, 12 league titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions Leagues and a Cup Winners' Cup.

He has broken the British transfer record seven times while in charge of the Old Trafford club.

Former Northern Ireland international player and manager Sammy McIlroy played for Manchester United from 1971 to 1982.

He said of Ferguson: "The man is quite remarkable. There is no doubt about that.

Image caption Former Manchester United player Sammy McIlroy

"He's coming up to his 70th birthday and there's no sign of retirement."

McIlroy said he believed that Ferguson, well-known for being quick-tempered, was not as volatile as he once was.

The Scot once lashed out at a boot on the dressing room floor and kicked it so hard it hit David Beckham on the face.

"With age you mellow a little bit, but I still do think he has his moments. That's the type of man he is," the east Belfast man said.

McIlroy insisted that Ferguson's enthusiasm for the game had not diminished.

"No doubt about it, he's still got the passion - that's what keeps him going in his job

"I'm sure that deep down, he is still the same man he was when he was 35 as he is coming up to his 70th birthday," he said.

"This man's desire is to win more European Cups and I'm sure that's the reason why he's staying on in his job."