Aren’t Arsenal ‘great’? Sir Alex applauds Gunners’ guard of honour for new champions Manchester United

By Chris Bailey

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Arsenal’s gesture to perform a guard of honour before clashing with newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester United on Sunday is the sign of a ‘great club’.

The Red Devils clinched the title with victory against Aston Villa and now travel to Robin van Persie’s old hunting ground, the Emirates Stadium.

While Ferguson expects great respect from Arsene Wenger’s players, he accepts the fans may not take too kindly to the return of the Dutchman.

“I’m glad Arsene’s done that, because when they came to Old Trafford and won the league some years back, we did exactly that,” he said. “And that’s what great clubs should do.

“There was a bit of booing when Arsenal played at Old Trafford, and I think you’d expect a portion of the fans to do that. That’s the modern generation and modern society, to be honest.

“I don’t really bother about that and I don’t think Robin should bother about that.”

To end the campaign on an even greater high, the Red Devils are aiming for a run of four wins to tot-up a league-record 96 points.

In Arsenal, however, they face a team who are scrapping with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur to secure a top-four Champions League bonanza.

But Ferguson insists the two sides’ storied history cuts too deep for his charges to show the Gunners any mercy.

“There’s always a danger, when you’ve won the league, of falling into the trap ‘it’s all over and we can relax and enjoy ourselves’,” he added.

“But I think we’ve got a duty to other clubs who are chasing a Champions League place.

“Also, the rivalry we’ve had with Arsenal and Chelsea over the years does give an edge to these games anyway, so we hope we represent ourselves the right way.”

The Scot’s latest Premier League triumph takes his haul to 13 after overseeing two decades of sustained success with United.

No one could blame him for standing back and admiring his glittering past, but Ferguson revealed the secret to his longevity is his constant outlook towards the future.

“I’ve never looked back, always forward,” he explained. “There’s a continuity of management here, not just myself, but my staff, and I think that definitely helps.

“We also have a nucleus of players who have spent a long time with the club.

“Taking aside Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, you have Rio Ferdinand, who’s been here 11 years.

“Also Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra have been here a good number of years now, so I think that helps in that you’re not making wholesale changes every year.

“The hardest thing is to maintain a level of success that keeps going year after year.”

Image courtesy of ESPN Soccer, via YouTube, with thanks.

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