Abandoned stadium which kicked off Sir Alex Ferguson's manager career before his Man Utd and Aberdeen heroics lies empty | The Sun

SIR ALEX FERGUSON began his dugout career with little East Stirlingshire before going on to glory with Aberdeen and Manchester United.

But the site for the start of one of football's greatest ever managerial careers now lies derelict, overgrown and empty.

Firs Park in Falkirk was the home of The Shire from 1921 until 2008.

The club moved to rent Ochilview in nearby Stenhousemuir before returning to their hometown to share Falkirk Stadium in 2018. They've been there ever since.

Meanwhile, their old ground with railway sleeper terraces tucked behind a town-centre retail park is completely unrecognisable.

Overgrown with weeds, trees and bushes it is a far cry from Old Trafford, Wembley and the Nou Camp where its most famous boss lifted football's top prizes.

Only one metal panel and post exists from the old entrance at the end of Firs Street in Falkirk, lined with tenements.

The rest is blocked off with flimsy temporary fencing.

And for a location that gave birth to football's legendary hairdryer treatment – it's a WASHING MACHINE that sits where the turnstiles used to be.

Sir Alex, aged 32 and earning £40 a week, was only in charge of the Shire for three months before moving on to St Mirren and later fame and glory with Aberdeen and Manchester United followed.

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He'd been a first-team coach a short distance away at Falkirk's Brockville before a fall-out and move to Ayr United before his dugout destiny.

His first game inspired a thrilling comeback from 3-0 down to draw with Forfar Athletic and he won nine of his 17 games in charge at Firs Park.

The dugout, and the manager's office though, are now long gone.

The remains of the ramshackle main stand have been removed as have just about all signs of football ever being played on the ground.

Housing plans for the prime town centre location have never materialised and it sits derelict, an open space for urban wildlife and occasional fly-tipping.

An old pitch line marker sat unused for several years as the weeds grew around it but it too was cleared out with the leftovers of the stand and covered terrace opposite.

In its' heyday Firs Park hosted more than 2000 to see the great and the good of Scottish football, but its demise mirrors' the Shire's fall – and sits in sharp contrast to Fergie.

The club are now in the Lowland League – Scottish football's fifth tier -having been first to succumb to the SPFL pyramid play-off against Edinburgh City in 2016.

Meanwhile Sir Alex landed 17 league titles, 15 domestic trophies and six European trophies including two in the Champions League and the Intercontinental and FIFA Club World Cup.

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But that glorious career – potentially the greatest-ever – all started in a derelict expanse, hidden behind TK Maxx, in the middle of Falkirk.

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