Sir Alex Ferguson turns 70 today. To mark the occasion lifelong blue Rob Wilson pays a (reluctant) tribute to the steely-eyed Scot in the overcoat who should be picking up his pension and watching Bargain Hunt by now not leading another side to possible glory.

I’m a Manchester City fan, so you’ll all gather that I’ve watched United from across Manchester with envious eyes and an angry heart as they’ve picked up every trophy in sight whenever it pleased them. I’ve seen players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney play in teams that I can only now say weren’t as good as City’s current team, and I’ve seen us lose countless derbies to last minute goals or moments of genius from the team everybody wanted to be. But times have changed recently, and maybe now City and United are on a level playing field for the first time since forever. I hear those words uttered by Sir Alex when he was asked if United would go into a Derby as the underdogs (“Not in my lifetime!”) and I smile, because the great man, hailed by fans everywhere as a true genius, is now scared of my club and what it has the potential to do. But I write today in tribute to the greatest manager football has ever seen. He may encourage his players to surround referees when decisions don’t go as he wants them to, and he may kick football boots at the world’s most recognisable face (David Beckham) but he’s responsible for the largest team in the footballing world. The team I hate, but the team I also admire for their efforts and success over the last two and a half decades. Their success is all down to one man…

Sir Alex Ferguson came to Manchester United in November 1986. He was greeted by players with a poor attitude that apparently “depressed” him. In his first few years as Manchester United manager things didn’t go to plan until 1990, when he won his first ever trophy as Manchester United manager. The man that would become Manchester City manager in 2008, Mark Hughes, is believed to have supposedly “saved” Sir Alex’s job at Manchester United by supplying a late extra-time goal to take the FA Cup final to a replay. This began United’s glory years as the trophies rolled in left right and centre. It was almost as if Ferguson had magnetic hands, and that a mere flick of the wrist would secure silverware for another season.

You might be a whiskey-nosed arse, Ferguson, but you’re a genius, a visionary.

In his years at Manchester United, Ferguson has won no less than 37 trophies, including “The Treble” season in 1998/99 and several other league & cup doubles along the way. This does not only make him the greatest manager in British football history, but the most successful manager the world has ever seen. A lot of City fans reading this may question my allegiances around about now, but you cannot deny his genius and expertise.

“Sir Alex Ferguson has defined an era by dominating it”- Jonathon Pearce. I think that pretty much says everything you need to know. He’s controlled football like a puppet, both positively and negatively. His legacy will remain in metal letters the size of cars on the previously named North Stand, and it will remain in the heads of every football fan worldwide.

You might be a whiskey-nosed arse, Ferguson, but you’re a genius, a visionary and someone who always knows how to adapt to the way football changes time and time again. Personally, I await his retirement because I know he is United’s pulse. Once Ferguson goes, United will plummet soon after. No manager can hold a dressing room like he can, and no manager will ever be at a club for 25 years ever again. He’s the last of a distant generation, and I hope one day football fans everywhere will appreciate him.

Thanks for an annoyingly brilliant 25 years, you arse.