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Erik’s View: Alex Ferguson, Jelly Wrestling & the Importance of Sleep

Erik Redli is a university graduate from Slovakia who is currently living in London. Each week he gives his view on the events of the last seven days. Today he looks at Alex Ferguson retiring, the importance of sleep and jelly wrestling at Cambridge. 

Fergie Retiring

Alex Ferguson retired after 26 years as manager of Manchester United yesterday.

"In the world of professional football, Sir Alex Ferguson is a synonym for longevity and permanence.

Yesterday I was walking in Westfield and came across an exhibition of photographs, capturing the most important moments in the history of the UEFA Champions League. Right in the entrance I was almost run over Liverpool players celebrating their triumph in 2005. Alongside that, I could not overlook the unforgettable Manchester United triumph from 1999, with David Beckham's blonde hair hidden behind the much bigger stars of that era.

However, Sir Alex Ferguson was clearly visible. His connection with Man Utd is even bigger than Paolo Maldini and AC Milan, who is also seen hoisting the trophy in the photo from 2003.

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Alex Ferguson Retires as Manchester United Manager

The sporting world was shocked this morning when Manchester United announced that Sir Alex Ferguson would be retiring at the end of this season- in less than two weeks time. After 26 years as manager, bringing unprecedented success, many football fans only know United with 'Fergie' in charge.

Unexpected rumours around his retirement started to swirl last night, before an official announcement was made by the club this morning. The statement revealed that Ferguson's last match will be in the league against West Brom on Sunday 19th May, after which he will step down as manager and take up the role as a United director and ambassador for the club.

Ferguson's Final Statement:

Ferguson also released a statement, which read as follows:

"The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time.

It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so. The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level whilst the structure of the youth set-up will ensure that the long-term future of the club remains a bright one.

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Euro 2012 Reaches Knock-Out Stages

With the Group Stages complete, the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine have so far been a resounding success. Beautiful football, tactical battles, nervy finishes and unexpected upsets have made for a thrilling fortnight of football. With the competition reaching it's crunch knock-out stages, we look at the four Quarter Finals and see how each team has reached them.

Czech Republic vs Portugal (Thursday 21st June)

The Czech Republic somehow topped their group with a negative goal difference. On a mad last day in Group A, the two favourites (Poland and Russia) both managed to lose and go out of the tournament. Portugal also needed to win their last game, and did so against the Netherlands, securing their qualification from a very tough group.

Portugal will go into this one as favourites, and certainly won't be afraid of playing the Czech Republic after already facing Germany. Both defences can look fragile so there will probably be goals. As ever with Portugal, it really depends on whether Cristiano Ronaldo turns up or not.

Prediction: 3-1 Portugal win

Germany vs Greece (Friday 22nd June)

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Euro 2012 Kicks-Off in Poland and Ukraine

Football fans across Europe are bursting with excitement, as Euro 2012 starts today. The international tournament is being held in Poland and Ukraine, and it is the former who will kick things off against Greece in Warsaw at 7.45pm (GMT) this evening.

The tournament starts with four groups of four teams, and there are some tasty looking groups. World champions and current holders of the European cup, Spain, are in the same group as Italy, whilst other favourites Germany and the Netherlands have been placed in a group alongside Portugal. After the teams have all played each other, two teams from each group will go through to the quarter-finals, when the straight knock-out part of the tournament begins.

Most people have one of Spain, Netherlands or Germany to win the tournament, though France and Italy are sure to provide strong competition. However, as Greece showed at Euro 2004, there is always room for a major upset at the Euros.

The Host Nations

Poland and Ukraine are hosting an international football tournament for the first time and have been preparing for five years. Six brand new stadiums have been built, the countries' infrastructure improved and transport links developed. Roughly half of the games will be played in Poland and the other half in Ukraine.

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A Trip to Wembley Stadium: England 2-3 Holland

The Home of Football. It's a big name to live up to, especially with the England football team's woeful recent history. But, whilst the team may be struggling along without a permanent manager or captain, Wembley Stadium certainly does not disappoint.

With Euro 2012 now just three months away and the England team dominating the football news in the last month, there was a sense of confusion, but also anticipation in the run up to the game with Holland last night. It was with this backdrop that I caught the tube out to West London.

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