Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has hailed the effect Sir Alex Ferguson has had on the English top flight after announcing his retirement.
After an incredible 26 years at the helm of the most successful club in Premier League history, the Manchester United manager has announced he will be stepping down at the end of the season.
He has notched an incredible 13 titles in the 21 years since the formation of the Premier League, and Scudamore praised the lasting effect that Ferguson will leave on the game as a whole.
"I was very shocked and surprised, as it is one of those things you know is going to happen one day, but can never expect it," Scudamore told Sky Sports.
"Since the Premier League started in 1992, its absolute leading club has been Manchester United.
"When you look at football it is about players, managers and individuals, and no star has been bigger on our stage than Sir Alex Ferguson.
"The lasting impression he has made on the Premier League is unquestionable, and you cannot talk about the Premier League without talking about Sir Alex Ferguson."
Scudamore refused to be drawn on who his successor will be, but insisted Manchester United and the Premier League will move on despite everything Ferguson has achieved.
"It is such a huge role to fill. There is no question of a Sir Alex shadow hanging over the club, there is the whole legacy he has built there," he added
"However, it is a huge opportunity for somebody with the facilities in place there."
"The PL has been a fantastic place because of him, but he more than anyone knows Manchester United and the Premier League will evolve."
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