Last updated : 07 May 2007 By Ed

From the Guardian

Sir Alex Ferguson, holding a flute of champagne and with a broad smile suffusing his face, celebrated his ninth championship with Manchester United last night by announcing that he planned to stay on at Old Trafford for several more years.

"I don't know how long exactly I'm going to last but I'm enjoying it and I'm going to carry on doing this job until I stop enjoying it," said the jubilant manager. "Why should I give up? It's easy to retire. I decided to retire a few years ago and I regretted it within days. I feel invigorated by the young players at our club. I feel invigorated when I see players such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville turning out every week for me. That gives me the right vibes that I am at the right place. It has been a great season and the players here always give me hope."

Ferguson, 65, admitted having been "in agony" as he watched the closing minutes of Chelsea's 1-1 draw at Arsenal, a result that confirmed United as champions for the first time since 2003. The Premiership's oldest manager, who passed his 20th anniversary at the club last November, had originally intended to be in Spain but he decided to cancel the trip after United had beaten Manchester City 1-0 on Saturday.

"I went to see my grandson play in the morning because he had a cup final of his own," he said. "They won their league and we won our league, so it has been a great double. Then I went home and watched the racing on telly and when that was finished I had nothing to do but twiddling my thumbs, so I watched the last 15 minutes from the Emirates Stadium and I was in agony. I thought Arsenal were trying to throw it away. They kept giving the ball away and Chelsea kept driving forward. My heart was in my mouth."

Seven points behind with two games to play, the onus is now on Chelsea to form a guard of honour when United visit Stamford Bridge on Wednesday - just as Ferguson's players did for Jose Mourinho's team at Old Trafford two seasons ago.

"In the last two years Chelsea have dominated the Premier League and we had a big job to do to catch them," said Ferguson. "The key to it was getting a good start to the season and I think we did that really well. That start gave us the momentum and from that moment on I don't think we ever lost it. That wasn't easy, keeping a lead in the Premier League for six months, with Chelsea on our coat-tails."

As United's fans celebrated outside Old Trafford, Ferguson said the victory partially made up for losing to Milan in the Champions League semi-final. "Several years ago I had an obsession about winning in Europe but that has been overtaken by the demands of the Premier League. It is the hardest league in Europe and to win it is a big, big achievement. It was our priority but I wish we had got to the final in Athens, I must say. I wish we could start the Milan game all over again because it's an experience I will not forget."

Ferguson challenged his players to make it an even more memorable season by winning the FA Cup to complete the Double. "We have a great history in the FA Cup - we have won it more than anyone else - and I can't think of a better final than against our main rivals, Chelsea."

The Torygraph

Tottenham always claim a year that ends in one is special; for Manchester United the figure is seven.

In 1957 the Busby Babes retained the championship and came achingly close to a treble, losing the European Cup semi-final and the FA Cup final; 1967 saw Matt Busby win the championship for the last time; a decade later under Tommy Docherty, they beat Liverpool in the FA Cup final to deny Anfield a treble of its own; 1997 saw a title retained and another European Cup semi-final. There is nothing much to say about 1987 except it marked Sir Alex Ferguson's first full year at Old Trafford. Twenty years later, he won his ninth and perhaps most remarkable Premiership title.

There was little sense of optimism before the season began with a dramatic 5-1 destruction of Fulham. Ruud van Nistelrooy had walked out of Old Trafford on the final day of the old season, Wayne Rooney was still feeling his way back from the metatarsal injury that blighted his World Cup and Louis Saha's fitness record meant he could not be relied on.

Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, who had underpinned so many trophies, were in their dotage in football terms. Because of the part Cristiano Ronaldo had played in Rooney's sending-off in Germany, his position looked at best uncomfortable and at worse untenable.

And yet from the moment they went into the interval at Old Trafford 4-1 up against Fulham, Manchester United played in a way that was wholly untypical of the Ferguson era. They started well. Ferguson's usual strategy was to stay in touch with the leaders until January when, with the Champions League group stages out of the way, they would burn off their challengers. With his exceptional, deep squad, Jose Mourinho had in his words turned the Premiership into "a marathon sprint".

Ferguson could not afford a slow start and Manchester United raced into the new season, helped by a relatively easy fixture list. By the time they forced a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford in November, they had won 11 of their opening 13 fixtures