MAN UNITED MASSIVE SUPPORT IN NIGERIA: Millions of Fans Gather for Sir Alex Ferguson

As the news filtered out of CNN sports on Wednesday afternoon (May 8, 2013), small group of football fans started to gather at major Cyber cafe, Office canteens and quick service restaurants across Nigeria. The talk that Sir Alex Ferguson is stepping down as manager of Manchester United began to spread out into the streets and villages. And by evening, it became a Mormon crowd at Newspaper Vendor stands and most viewing centers across the country. It was quiet a major blow out.

Some of Man-U fans lamented that it is sad news that Ferguson is retiring with his intimidating profile, just after winning his 20th English Premier League title a few weeks ago. "He should have waited for another one year or two to properly indoctrinate whosoever is going to succeed him." one of the fan, Josiah from Lagos Island, lamented. "Man-U has a peculiar style and culture that may be very difficult for any manager to adopt. Now, who is going to fit into Ferguson's very bogus shoes."

Meanwhile, another group of fans were already tweeting "farewell Sir Alex." They say it's time to honor one of the greatest managers in football history.

It's not all about Man-U, one of Chelsea fan, Ikechukwu Nwosu said, "Although I don't really like Man-U, but I have to say Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the most respected managers. Now that he's going to retire, I felt really like honoring him for all the glamour he brought to the game of football."

Ferguson made Man-U the most preferred football brand in the world. The 76 years old tactician managed the team for over a quarter of a century (26 trophy laden seasons) - winning the EPL 20 seasons, the Champions league twice and the FA cup thrice among other trophies.

And beyond the game, he built into the club a culture of glamor and prestige as well as brought so much financial success that made man-U one of the richest clubs in the world today.

Man-U may have acknowledged the mass appeal it enjoys in Europe and Asia, but has been slow in recognizing that the team is the most supported club in the largest black African country.

Perhaps, the visit by some of the team's players last year and the reception they received in Lagos Nigeria may be an eye opener. A recent report by Gag Sports Insights, indicated that Man-U have over 25 million active fans in Nigeria alone and about 120 million fans across the West African region.

The reason the team enjoy such massive support is not far-fetched. Everyone wants to identify with the winning team and Ferguson has indeed brought such winning culture to Man-U. You're almost certain that Man-U will win at least a trophy each season.

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