Man U fan Jim pays tribute to Sir Alex
The retirement of Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson struck a personal chord with the well-known Wexford bus operator Jim Shannon who has met the legendary soccer boss on numerous occasions.
Life-long Man U supporter Jim's first close encounter with the iconic Ferguson came sadly as a result of the Omagh bombings.
Jim was in Manchester with a group of Wexford fans, staying in the same hotel as the Omagh branch of the United Supporters Club.
When news of the tragedy broke, the Omagh fans were devastated. Some were flown home that night by the soccer club.
Jim got to know some of the fans that weekend and stayed in touch with them.
Two years later, when the Omagh Supporters Club were holding their 12th anniversary dinner, he and his wife Maura were invited to attend.
Alex Ferguson and the actor James Nesbitt were special guests.
Jim and Maura were introduced to Ferguson in what was a very special moment for the Wexfordman.
'I found him a very nice person to meet. It struck me that it didn't matter whether you were an ordinary person or a millionaire, he treated you the same.'
Jim has met the Man U boss a number of times since then.
On one occasion, he asked him who his best signing was and he replied Roy Keane.
Jim's most recent visit to Old Trafford was a few weeks ago with a group of fans from Brownes of Bishopswater. when Manchester United won their 20th championship.
He was not surprised by Ferguson's decision to retire.
'To be honest, I kinda predicted he would go.'
'He is 73 years of age now. It's time for him to go. He chose the right time,' said Jim who is positive about the future of the club.
'The Manchester United fans will follow the players and the team. They will support the club no matter what.'
The Wexford branch of the Supporters Club which meets in Brownes, is thriving, according to Jim.
'The club has up to 100 members in Wexford and we're looking for new members.'
The next get-together in Brownes will be this weekend, for the last game of the season.