London: Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted Manchester United chief executive David Gill``s decision to step down from his position at the end of the season would be a big loss for him, as he was his most powerful and closest ally at Old Trafford.
Ferguson revealed he tried to find a way of persuading Gill to stay, the Telegraph reports. The pair formed a crucial alliance during Gill``s decade as chief executive, fostered during regular Friday morning meetings in Ferguson``s office at the club``s training ground. Edward Woodward, the club``s 40-year-old executive vice-chairman, and someone who has driven a huge expansion in United``s commercial activity in recent years would replace Gill.
Gill will remain on the United board but will now focus on his attempt to win election to Uefa``s executive committee as the Football Association``s representative in three months`` time.
Fergie said Gill stepping down is a big loss to him, but the fact that he is staying on the board encourages him that the reason for his departure is heartfelt, adding that Gill believes it is time for the club to move on. Ferguson added if he could have found a way of persuading Gill to stay then he would love to have done that.
Ferguson said Gill has made his decision and he respects him for that, adding he has been, and will continue to be, a fantastic success for United. Fergie added Gill has all the qualities of successful people ingrained in him: energy, honesty, integrity, personality and decision-making ability, and he wished him well in whatever new challenges he will tackle in the future.