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Top 10 Moments that ended a sporting era

Sir Alex Ferguson retiring from his post at Manchester United is not your everyday managerial departure; it is a sea change in the Premier League and in English football as a whole. There are millions of football fans around the world who will have known nothing else but the Scot as manager at Old Trafford and now that stability has come to an end.

This is not the first time in sport that the status quo has been shaken up and look at 10 momentous changes in sporting eras.

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10. Stephen Hendry knocks Steve Davis off his perch

From the first time Steve Davis won the World Snooker Championship in 1981 he dominated the scene for eight long years. In the nine years from ’81 to 1989 only one final at the Crucible went by without the Nugget involved and he won six of them. Then 1990 came round though and a 21-year-old Stephen Hendry stormed to the final winning the first of his seven world crowns. Davis only reached the last four that year and never made a final again.

9. West Indies lose a test series after 15 years undefeated

The West Indies cricket team were as dominant a side as the sport has ever seen throughout the 1980s and then into the early ‘90s. After losing a three match series in New Zealand over the winter of 1979-80 they then went 15 years without losing a series until Australia won the fourth test in Kingston in April 1995. It was a new thing for many cricket fans and Australia would go on to dominate the world scene.

8. John Part dethrones Phil Taylor

After the acrimonious split in darts back in 1993 Phil Taylor went on to dominate the PDC side of the game. He lost the first PDC world title but then went on to claim the next eight championships and it was hard for anyone to imagine anyone else as the world champion. That was until Canadian John Part battled to victory in one of the greatest darts matches of all time in 2003 edging out The Power 7-6. Taylor would go on to win six more world titles but for 2003 darts fans were living in a world not dominated by Taylor for the first time in nearly a decade.

7. Arsenal lose their invincibility

Arguably the greatest team in Premier League history as Arsenal went 49 games unbeaten playing some of the best football the country has ever seen along the way. Arsene Wenger’s team went the whole of the 2003-04 season undefeated thanks to the brilliance of the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira until they eventually went down 2-0 at Old Trafford the following season.

6. Tyson loses to Buster Douglas

After making his professional debut in 1985 the boxing world had got very used to Iron Mike dominating the heavyweight scene. It took him less than two years to capture a world title and when he stepped into the ring to fight Buster Douglas in February 1990 he had won 37 fights, 33 by KO. Douglas knocked him out in the 10th and although Tyson would again claim a world title, his era of invincibility was over. Douglas was a 42/1 shot and would have been the dream pick for a free bet.

5. Sampras loses to Federer at Wimbledon

For eight years Pete Sampras was the king of Wimbledon. He won seven titles from 1993 till 2000 with the 1996 championships his only blemish when he fell at the quarter-final stage. However in 2001 a 19-year-old Roger Federer saw off Pistol Pete in the fourth round, Sampras lost his 31-match winning streak at Wimbledon and he would never challenge for the famous title again. His era was over and Federer’s was about to begin as he has gone on to win seven titles at SW19.

4. England win 2005 Ashes series

For much of the 1990s and early 2000s Australia were the best cricket team on the planet dominating everyone that dared stand in their way and they were especially adept at swatting England aside. From the 1989 Ashes to the 2002-03 series Australia won all eight with England managing just seven tests along the way. 2005 was a change in the wind though as England won an epic home series that captured the interest of the nation. The Aussies may have claimed the next one comprehensively but England then won two more and are comfortably ahead of the Aussies in the test arena.

3. Tiger Woods fails to win a tour event in 2010

Tiger Woods first won on the PGA Tour at the Las Vegas Invitational back in October 1996 and went on to dominate the sport for over a decade winning 14 majors from 1997 to 2008. There were seasons that he didn’t manage a major but every year he added to his enormous list of titles. That was, until, 2010 when he failed to win a single competition. This was unheard of in the golfing world after 14 years of unbelievable success and it looked like it was all over for Tiger. He is back to world number one now but for a couple of years the golfing landscape had changed.

2. Bob Paisley retires from Liverpool

Another of the great managers of the English game is up there with Ferguson as arguably the best of all time and certainly in Liverpool he will get plenty of votes. He guided the Reds to six league titles during his reign from 1974 to 1983 and even more memorably he lifted the European Cup three times, which is still a record for a manager. Like Ferguson at Old Trafford, he seemed like he couldn’t be replaced at Anfield and the footballing world had to adapt to the major change.

1. Sir Alex Ferguson retires from Manchester United

It is the biggest news in British football in recent memory as the most successful manager in the country’s history decides to call it a day at the age of 71. For anyone under 30 they have never known a different manager of Manchester United and in the Premier League era there is no one who has come close to winning as much as him. The era is over and the division is going to feel very different next year with another man in charge of the Red Devils.

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