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Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has ripped up plans to retire at 70 years of age.

Ferguson, 67 on New Year's Eve, has been given a new lease of life by his young team and regrets saying after winning the Champions League final that he "would not be managing here any more than three years at the very, very most".

Now Sir Alex admits he may carry on longer than Sir Bobby Robson, who was 71 when he was sacked by Newcastle United in 2004.

On the eve of today's 150th derby against Manchester City, Ferguson said: "The retirement issue is completely out of my mind now. I don't ever think about it. I am not going to put myself in a situation where I say to myself I am retiring this year or next.

"It's difficult to say whether I will be a manager at 70. People ask why I should pack it in - and it is a good point."

Meanwhile...Manchester City boss Mark Hughes is convinced Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson never rated him as a player.

Ned Kelly, then Manchester United's head of security, bumped into Hughes in a Manchester nightclub one summer's evening in 1995. Hughes had just severed his ties with Old Trafford to join Chelsea and was out with his wife, Jill. But Kelly remembers the mood was tense.

"Whether it was the lateness of the hour, the strength of the alcohol, or something he had read in the memoirs of Alex Ferguson, Sparky wanted to talk only about his former manager," Kelly recalls in his book Manchester United - The Untold Story. "'Fergie never really rated me as a player,' he complained. 'I was only brought back from Barcelona to keep the fans happy.'"

Kelly remembers telling Hughes "that's ********", but to no avail. "Mark refused to listen. He was more interested in berating Fergie. It was sad that one of Old Trafford's most hard-working players who had given such sterling service to the club had spent all those years believing his manager had thought so little of him."
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