Ferguson toasts Old Trafford on centenary

MANCHESTER - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson added his voice to the 100th birthday celebrations of Old Trafford on Friday when he said it was one of the best grounds in the world.

"It is one of the finest stadiums in the world and people come from all over the world just to admire it," Ferguson said.

"They come to look at the stadium even when there is not a game on.

The ground opened on February 19, 1910 when United lost 4-3 at home to Liverpool.

With a capacity of 80,000, mostly standing, it cost 60,000 pounds to build.

United moved there after spending their early years at two other grounds and it has been their home ever since, apart from eight years when they played at the former Maine Road home of neighbours Manchester City following bomb damage to the ground in World War Two.

"It is a terrific stadium and, in the main, when the support has been needed, in big-game situations over the years, the fans have never let us down. There is something special about it. We have scored so many late goals here, achieved so much. It is remarkable really," Ferguson said.

The ground has undergone major redevelopment over the last 20 years and now has a capacity of 75,769.

As well as hosting England internationals it also staged the FA Cup final in 1915 and FA Cup final replays in 1911 and 1970.

It was the venue for the 2003 Champions League final between AC Milan and Juventus and, as in 1966 when England held the World Cup, it would host matches if England won the right to stage the 2018 or 2022 World Cup finals.