But he can still give the orders.
Sir Alex Ferguson returned to his home city last night for his first public appearance since his retirement as manager of Manchester United and he insisted that Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers manager Ally McCoist co-host an event in aid of the STV Appeal at the 29 Private Members' Club, in Glasgow.
James Mortimer, owner of the Royal Exchange Square club, opened the evening and introduced Sir Tom Hunter who described child poverty in Scotland as the country's "secret shame".
The event contained a question-and-answer session with Sir Alex, and was attended by David Moyes, his successor at United, Graeme Souness, former manager of Rangers, Judy Murray, the tennis coach, and Glasgow businessman Sir Willie Haughey and other Scottish celebrities.
The event is expected to raise tens of thousands for the charity with special items donated for an auction, including a special New Yorker cover from Andy Murray.
Earlier, Sir Alex travelled to East Kilbride to dig the first turf of building work at the site of the Kilbryde Hospice.
He has helped raise funds for the Donna Mortimer Ballantyne Charitable Trust which was set up by Mr Mortimer after the death of his daughter Donna from skin cancer in 2011.
Sir Alex joined Mr Mortimer's daughter Christine and board members of the hospice and the trust at the building site to signal the start of work.
Entrepreneur Sir Willie, who was named a peer earlier this summer, and his wife Susan have also donated towards the construction of the hospice through the City Charitable Trust, which they set up.
Dennis Gallagher, Kilbryde Hospice chairman, said: "It is a fantastic benefit to the hospice to have such a public figure like Sir Alex take the time out of his busy schedule to come and give us support. It lets people see the importance of this project to the people of South Lanarkshire, the fact that someone like Sir Alex can support us.
"He has actually been a local resident in the past, in East Kilbride, so he is a man that does remember his past and where he has come from. He has been supportive of the hospice for many years.
"It has taken us 10 years to get the money to build this and it will take a year to complete.
"We now need to fund the operational activities of the hospice and that could stretch to anything up to £2 million."
The STV appeal has raised more than £3.3m to date. Proceeds are donated to children's charities in Scotland aimed at helping those living in poverty.
To donate to the STV Appeal, visit www.campaigns.stv.tv/stv-appeal/donate.