This Sunday, it comes to an end - the Manchester United era under Sir Alex Ferguson. Almost 27 years and 38 trophies later, Ferguson steps away from managerial life at Manchester United after a trip to the Hawthorns. An away tie at West Brom provides the stage and context for the most anti-climactic Fergie Time imaginable. If it were not for an unjust red card to Nani that turned the tides in Uniteds Champions League tie with Real Madrid, a more appropriate send off in a Champions League final at Wembley could have been in the cards for the decorated gaffer. But this is what were left with. Fergusons swansong cannot live up to the pomp and circumstance of the past 10 days since he announced he was stepping away. Tributes have poured in from around the world, bidding adieu, congratulatory messages, words of praise, acknowledgement of accomplishment. In addition to aforementioned acclaim, Sir Alex managed his final match at Old Trafford, hoisted his 13th Premier League title trophy and took in the celebratory parade through the streets of Manchester, commemorating league title No. 20 for the worlds most famous club. Manchester went Red, allowing Ferguson to move nicely into his quasi-retirement directors role, at peace. All my life Ive supported Manchester United. Im a Red, through and through. I can honestly say some of the best moments of my life have come supporting United. Its my passion. And as far back as I remember, that meant supporting Sir Alex Ferguson. Sir Alex is the only manager that any of us who were born in the 1980s knows firsthand. Watching and consuming Premier League football is easy nowadays. Turn on the radio or television. Go online. Its all at your fingertips. It took considerable more effort in my youth. Soccer Saturday on TSN was a prime destination. Press clippings in the mail from overseas kept me up-to-date. Or heading to the pub to watch matches on the satellite were our basic staples. I remember getting my first Manchester United kit from family in the UK in the early eighties: a red Adidas shirt with SHARP sponsor in the middle with the Manchester United crest above it. I still have the jersey and it surprisingly fits (kind of). The shirt pre-dates Sir Alex, but it was upon his arrival in 1986 I took a real interest. Supporting the club as a child, the work a manager does goes by the wayside. Your true heroes are the players. The players are the stars. They score the goals. They dazzle with their skill and vision. I remember wanting to be the next Steve Bruce, which turned into wanting to be the next Paul Ince as I worked my way up the field in my own playing days. I grew up with Manchester Uniteds golden generation. Scholes, Beckham, Butt, Neville(s). I swear if I ever have a son Ill name him Giggs. Cantona was a godsend. Keano was our fearless leader. And Robin van Persie is Uniteds new patron saint. Manchester United has been a place where the biggest names in world football have plied their trade and won. Won lots of trophies. It doesnt get better for a supporter. The last 27 years, the Impossible Dream has been a reality for United supporters. Its been incredible. Stoppage time magic in Barcelona. Penalties in Moscow. The ups and downs of a decisive run in the Premier League. Its been a ride. And if you get down to it, none of it would have been possible without The Boss. Nothing. The sporting heroism of the players turns to admiration of the manager. Its easy to become jaded by sport. The non-stop managerial and player turn-around at clubs across the world waters down identity. Its a by-product of modern sport, and I get it. But its something United has largely been immune. Yes, players come and go. Some probably stay too long. But its the identity of what being part of the club thats remained the same. And that has been set by Ferguson. Responsibility comes with playing for Manchester United. The history of the club is part of that. But Ferguson did the rest. He set the tone, steering the course, knocking off adversaries and keeping United at the top. Players were held accountable. Once a player put one above club, hed be knocked down or sent away. The club first mentality has been preached to the end. Wayne Rooney the last player to feel the brunt of Ferguson sending a message, watching Uniteds final home match from an executive suite. Its perspective Sir Alex brought. Professionalism. A column penned by former England goalkeeper David James gives a poignant glimpse how Manchester United players developed into a difference breed. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/...ager?CMP=twt_gu And it came about because Sir Alex demanded more. The full 90 on and off the field. Superior focus. A winners mentality. I still cant believe Ferguson agreed to be a guest on Off the Record with Michael Landsberg on Uniteds North American summer tour in 2010. Michael invited me into studio that day, knowing my passion for United. I had just landed from spending 40-something days covering the World Cup in South Africa and couldnt make it. Its one of my biggest regrets - not being able to meet the man in person. Theres no substitute for a real face-to-face conversation. Covering sport you meet personalities of all kinds. But Sir Alex to me is in a league of his own. That would have been special. Next season will not be the same without Ferguson on the sidelines. Ill miss Fergie Time, which has become preferred terminology when too much stoppage time is given. Anything can happen in Fergie Time and usually did. Ill miss the gum chewing and the assumption of the hair dryer after a poor 45 minutes. Ill miss questioning his squad selection. Ferguson has often remained steadfast and loyal to players and formations deemed not suffice. Yet time after time, Ferguson got it right. No matter whom he left on the bench, or what wonky substitution was made, it would all somehow work out over the long haul. His ability to see beyond the immediate into the big picture and manage accordingly may be his biggest strength, evidenced in his team hitting stride each year in and around the hectic holiday season. Ill miss the mind games. Ferguson had his ups and downs with the media. But how he went out of his way to send a message to a match official or opposing manager after an innocent question was a thing of beauty. There were no mincing words. And the message always delivered. Ill miss his visible love for the club and respect for its supporters. He was a pillar of strength, often controversially after the Glazers take over of the club. Hell have to continue to be influential behind the scenes so the new manager can thrive. Above all, Ill miss having blind faith of a Ferguson managed team on the field, no matter who theyre playing, who was on the field, or what the score line may be. The best way to describe Ferguson is a winner. The mentality is contagious. Managers come and go but how do you move on when Fergusons the only one Ive known? You dont. There is no way to truly replace Sir Alex. You simply move on with faith that the culture established carries through to the next edition of the team. Im choosing to be optimistic. At the very least, the entire idea of change is exciting. Most supporters of other clubs go through this on a semi-regular basis. New tactics, new motivation, fresh life into the on-field product has to be a positive under the backdrop Ferguson helped build. The club is bigger than one man. The club will move on. Football is fluid. Fergusons recognized this better than most, speaking to his longevity. Match 1,500 will be his last Sunday. 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Middleweight world titleholder Billy Joe Saunders will make his first defense against an opponent to be determined on Oct. 22 at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales, promoter Frank Warren announced.Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs), 27, of England, who previously avoided a world title unification fight with Gennady Golovkin despite calling him out and then being offered a career payday to fight him, will be fighting for the first time since December, when he eked out a majority decision to win the title from Irelands Andy Lee.Saunders was supposed to make his initial defense against Ukraines Max Bursak on April 30 in London, but pulled out after suffering a left hand injury. Saunders took the fight with Bursak after rejecting the offer to unify with Golovkin on April 23.Then Saunders was supposed to make his first defense on the Tyson Fury-Wladimir Klitschko II undercard on Oct. 29 in Manchester, England, but he had his fight moved up one week when the heavyweight championship rematch was canceled last week due to Furys withdrawal.I cant wait to shake the cobwebs off and get back in there where I belong. Its been too long, Saunders said. Every fight is dangerous at this stage so it is important that I dont overlook or underestimate anybody. I have worked long and hard to get where I am today and there is some huge fights out there for me. I need to take care of this fight and then Ill move on to bigger and better things. Im fully focused on the job in hand and putting on an explosive performance down in Cardiff. I cant wait to get this show on the road.Also on the card, Englands Tommy Langford had hoped to challenge middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jr. for the British title but Eubank, who also dodged Golovkin despite calling him out and being offered a career-high payday to fight him earlier this month in London, pulled out, claiming an elbow injury.So with Eubank out of the fight and vacating the British title, Langford (17-0, 6 KOs), 27, the Commonwealth champion, will instead take on Sam Sheedy (17-1, 4 KOs), 28, for the vacant British title, prromoter Frank Warren announced Wednesday.ddddddddddddThis is a great fight for me, Langford said. Sam is a good boxer and has one of those styles that can make life very difficult for anyone so I will have to get it right on the night. Hes only lost once in a fight that he should have won. Ive watched it back and it was an unlucky decision against Navid Mansouri. He poses a lot of threats but I am very confident I can get in there and get the job done.Having the opportunity to fight for the British title is phenomenal for me and its a great chance to propel myself on to that next level. This is a chance to put my name in the history books and I wont be letting it pass.Englands Paul Butter (21-1, 12 KOs), the 27-year-old former bantamweight world titlist, will also fight on the card in a scheduled 10-round bout against an opponent to be determined. The fight will be Butlers first since linking up with top British trainer Joe Gallagher, who was named 2015 trainer of the year by Ring magazine.Im really looking forward to working alongside Joe, Butler said. Weve already been working on a few little things in the gym that will improve me. Hes a great professional and has watched all of my previous fights to pinpoint areas in which I can improve.Just being around the lads in the gym and seeing the big fights that theyre involved in is good to be around and it gives you a real push. Ive known most of the guys in the gym since I was an amateur. Working alongside them and watching them train is good, you pick up new things such as different shot selections every day.Butler has won four fights in a row since dropping down to junior bantamweight and getting stopped by Zolani Tete in the eighth round of a March 2015 world title bout in Liverpool, England.British junior middleweight champion Liam Williams (15-0-1, 10 KOs), 24, of Wales, headlines the card in a defense against Londons 28-year-old Ahmet Patterson (17-0, 7 KOs). 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