The club have today announced that Director of Youth Football, Jimmy Ryan, is retiring. He started his career at United when he was a teenager after moving down from Scotland to play for our youth team. Ryan made his début for United at the end of the 1965-66 season against West Brom and scored in his second appearance for the club in a 6-1 win over Aston Villa. Ryan’s appearances in the first team were limited due to competition from George Best although he did play in the European Cup on our way to being the first English club to win it in 1968.

After leaving United, he played almost 200 games for Luton Town before he moved to the USA to play for Dallas Tornados. Once he retired, he returned to Luton for 18 months and managed to save them from relegation before he returned to United as Reserve Team manager. In his nine years in this position, they won three league titles and two Manchester Senior Cups, helping see through the most successful generation of youth talent this country has ever seen. Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and the Nevilles have made a total of 428 international appearances.

Ryan has also being United’s assistant manager on a couple of occasions, firstly in 1998 after Brian Kidd left for Blackburn and again in 2001 when Steve McClaren left to manage Middlesbrough.

In 2002 he was appointed Director of Youth Football and has held this position for the past ten years.

“I think I have a lot of mixed feelings about it,” he told the official site. “Generally speaking, a football life is a good life so I’m giving up a lot of enjoyable things. I guess it’s a wrench but everybody has to retire at some time. I’d like to think I’ll still come to Carrington to watch the boys. Of course, you also become friends with the coaches and you don’t just stop that friendship.”

All the best, Jimmy.