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‘Gill stepping down a loss’

London: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has called chief executive David Gill’s resignation a ‘big loss’ and said he tried to make him change his mind.

Gill, the vice-chairman of the FA, announced his decision in statement on the club’s website.

Gill has enjoyed a successful working relationship with manager Ferguson and last year sanctioned the naming of a stand after him.

In response to his announcement Ferguson said: “David has been a magnificent chief executive. Of course, we have had a million arguments, but I have always enjoyed them because I know that David has two great qualities: he is straight and he always puts Manchester United first.

“No disagreement is ever personal with him. He always wants the best for United, whether it's the players, the training ground or the staff.

“Him stepping down is a big loss for me but the fact that he is staying on the board encourages me that the reason for his departure is heartfelt, that he believes it is time for the club to move on.

“If I could have found a way of persuading him to stay I would love to have done that. But he has made his decision and I respect him for it. He has been, and will continue to be, a fantastic success for Manchester United.

“He has all the qualities of successful people ingrained in him: energy, honesty, integrity, personality and decision-making ability.”