London: Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton insists Sir Alex Ferguson should be recognised as a genius after 25 years of remarkable success at Old Trafford.
In his role as a United director Charlton was instrumental in Ferguson's appointment as the club's manager in 1986 and the decision to lure the Scot from Aberdeen has proved an inspired move.
Ferguson celebrated a quarter of a century in charge of United this weekend and to mark the occasion United re-named the North Stand at Old Trafford after him as a tribute to the 69-year-old's achievements.
Charlton believes that is a fitting salute to the man who turned United from under-achievers into a global superpower.
"We ran the club, but the playing side was left to him. He was a genius. He is a genius," Charlton told the Sunday Telegraph.
"There was nobody better than he was. And his record will now stand forever. I can't see anybody beating it in my lifetime.
"When you think one or two injuries might have made the difference, he's brought in a couple of younger players when people think they're too young. But he doesn't. He's just marvellous."
Charlton, who is regarded as one of the finest players in United's history, is adamant there was never any question that Ferguson would be sacked, even during his barren first three seasons in charge.
It was widely reported at the time that Ferguson was close to being dismissed before an FA Cup third round victory over Nottingham Forest in 1990.
United went onto win the Cup - their first trophy of the Ferguson era - and the rest is history.
However, Charlton refuted those suggestions and insists Ferguson always had the board's full backing.
"There wasn't one board meeting where it was brought up. Never," Charlton said.
"He knew what he was doing. You could see the growth of the young players, and we knew it was only a matter of being patient. And we were patient, because we knew that he was still the man for the job."