Sir Alex Ferguson recovering in intensive care after emergency surgery for brain haemorrhage

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  • Alex Ferguson
    Alex Ferguson
    Scottish association football manager and former footballer (born 1941)
Ferguson served Manchester United with distinction for 26 years - Getty Images Europe
Ferguson served Manchester United with distinction for 26 years - Getty Images Europe

Sir Alex Ferguson is in intensive care after undergoing emergency surgery following a brain haemorrhage.

The 76-year-old former Manchester United manager was rushed to hospital on Saturday morning.

In a statement, a United spokesman said: "Sir Alex has undergone emergency surgery today for a brain haemorrhage. The procedure has gone very well but he needs a period of intensive care to optimise his recovery. His family request privacy."

It is understood an ambulance was called to his Cheshire home at around 9am and he was taken to Macclesfield district hospital before being transferred to the Salford Royal.

His son Darren, the manager of League One side Doncaster, did not attend his side's final home game of the season on Saturday after his father took ill.

Sir Alex Ferguson: life and career of a football legend - in pictures

The Football Association, Premier League, Fifa, Uefa and individual clubs from Britain and around the world all tweeted their best wishes along with a host of current and former United players.

David Beckham, perhaps Sir Alex's most high-profile player, offered his support to his former manager and his wife, Lady Cathy.

He posted a picture of himself as a young player alongside Sir Alex on Instagram, adding: "Keep fighting Boss ... Sending prayers and love to Cathy and the whole family."

Former goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, whose wife Annemarie van Kesteren suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2009 but later recovered, said he was "devastated" to hear the news "knowing all too well about the situation ourselves".

Arch United rivals Manchester City joined other clubs, some using the hashtag "football family", to wish Sir Alex well.

Manchester City tweeted: "Everyone at Manchester City wishes Sir Alex Ferguson a full and speedy recovery after his surgery."

Everyone at #MOTD sends our best wishes to Sir Alex Ferguson

— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) May 5, 2018

Anfield HQ tweeted: "A great rival but also a great friend who supported this club during its most difficult time, it is hoped that Sir Alex will make a full recovery."

Aberdeen Football club, which Sir Alex managed before Manchester United, and where he helped to break the Celtic and Rangers dominance of Scottish football, also wished him well.

The club tweeted: "The thoughts and prayers of everyone connected with Aberdeen Football Club are with our former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson and his family following tonight's news."

Scotland's First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon joined Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson in tweeting their best wishes for Sir Alex.

The Glaswegian coach is widely regarded as Britain's most successful football manager, winning 49 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League titles.

He retired as United manager in May 2013 but has been a regular at the team's home matches as a spectator, sitting in the stand that bears his name.

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He was at Old Trafford last Sunday where he presented Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal boss, with a commemorative trophy to mark his departure from the club he has managed for 22 years.

Jim White comment on Fergie

Sir Alex began his managerial career at East Stirlingshire before taking charge of St Mirren, winning the First Division title. He then moved to Aberdeen, winning three Scottish league championships, four Scottish Cups and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1983.

He briefly managed Scotland following the death of Jock Stein and was appointed United boss in November 1986.

Born into a family of shipyard workers in the Govan area of Glasgow, Sir Alex has been a well-known Labour supporter and has been named in the past as one of the party's biggest donors.

Brain haemorrhages | Q&A



Match of the Day sends their best wishes

Everyone at #MOTD sends our best wishes to Sir Alex Ferguson

— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) May 5, 2018


'My dear friend. Be strong, Boss!'

Cristiano Ronaldo was signed by Ferguson as an 18 year-old in 2003 and developed into one of the world's finest players in his six years at Old Trafford.

The Real Madrid forward said on Twitter: "My thoughts and prayers are with you, my dear friend. Be strong, Boss!"


'His strong character will get him well'

Arsene Wenger has released a statement via The Daily Mail:

"I am concerned and I'm thinking about him and his family. I trust his strength and his strong character will get him well very quickly."


'All our thoughts are with Sir Alex's family'

Howard Wilkinson, the chairman of the League Managers Association:

"I, together with the whole fraternity of football managers in the LMA, wish him well and hope for a speedy recovery from his surgery.

"All our thoughts are with Lady Cathy and the rest of Sir Alex's family at this difficult time."


'He never swayed from what he was trying to do'

There are few more authentic eye-witnesses to Manchester United’s modern history than Brian McClair, who lived through Ferguson's transformation of the club from first division mediocrities to the kings of the Premier League - first as a player and then as a coach: 

Brian McClair on Sir Alex Ferguson


The best of Ferguson - in videos


'The secret of my success'

Watch Sir Alex Ferguson from 2015 discussing how he became one of the most successful managers in history:


Players past and present pray for Ferguson


"He's as tough as old boots and will come through"

Paddy Crerand, European Cup winner with Manchester United in 1968, said:

"Of all the people you would imagine something like that happening to Sir Alex would be the last one.

"I saw him at Old Trafford for the Arsenal game when he presented Arsene Wenger with a plaque for his achievements and he looked well and in good spirits.

"This has come out of the blue. But he's as tough as old boots and will come through this I am sure. My thoughts are with his wife Cathy and his family.

"If I know Alex he'll be already planning when he can get to his next United match at Old Trafford."


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"Stay strong!"

PSG boss Unai Emery:


"He is a national treasure, we are all rooting for him"

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester:

"I'm sure I can speak for the whole of Manchester – both sides of the city, red and blue – and beyond its borders in extending my best wishes to Sir Alex for a complete and speedy recovery.

"He is a national treasure, we are all rooting for him, keeping everything crossed, and I would like to send his family all my love and best wishes."


"Keep fighting boss"

David Beckham, perhaps Ferguson's most high-profile former player, offered his support to Ferguson and his wife Cathy: 


'A great rival but also a great friend'

Liverpool have released a statement:

"The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Sir Alex Ferguson and his family following the news that the former Manchester United manager is ill in hospital.

"A great rival but also a great friend who supported this club during its most difficult time, it is hoped that Sir Alex will make a full recovery.

"In the meantime, the club will offer its full support to Manchester United and also his family."


"Stay strong and hope together with everyone you recover"

Edwin van der Sar was granted leave by Ferguson in 2009 when his wife suffered a brain haemorrhage - here's the Dutchman's tribute to his former boss:


"If anyone can you can boss"

Mike Phelan, who played under Ferguson for United and later served as his  assistant manager, said on Twitter: "Sir Alex, you've won more than most and if anyone can you can boss."


"Wishing him a full and speedy recovery"

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, said on Twitter: "My thoughts are with Alex Ferguson and his family - wishing him a full and speedy recovery."

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, tweeted: "So many people will be wishing Alex Ferguson well and sending their thoughts to his family tonight."


"It is tragic"

Everton manager Sam Allardyce:

"It is tragic. I am going to find out how he is as soon as I possibly can. Obviously I knew it was extremely serious when I knew his son Darren didn't attend his own game at Doncaster today.

"I hope he is in good hands and I hope the operation is a major success because as a personal friend... I hope he has a full recovery."



Sir Alex Ferguson - Born winner

Sir Alex Ferguson | British football's greatest manager


"I was hoping  it wasn't true"

Former United striker Mark Hughes, speaking after his Southampton's side's draw with Everton:

"I only just got a little whisper earlier on. I was hoping  it wasn't true. I wish him all the best." 


Thoughts and prayers with Sir Alex

United midfielder Michael Carrick said on Twitter: 


Get-well messages flood in for Fergie


BREAKING: Sir Alex Ferguson suffers brain haemorrhage

Sir Alex Ferguson was rushed to hospital this morning to undergo emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage.

An ambulance was called to his home in Cheshire at 9am this morning and took the 76 year-old to Macclesfield district hospital.

The Scot was subsequently transferred, with a police escort, to be treated at the Salford Royal.

A statement from Man Utd read: "Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone emergency surgery today for a brain haemorrhage.

"The procedure has gone very well but he needs a period of intensive care to optimise his recovery."

His son, Darren Ferguson, missed Doncaster's final game of the season against Wigan as news emerged.

A statement from Doncaster read: "Rovers manager Darren Ferguson will not be at Saturday's game due to family reasons. Gavin Strachan will oversee the final game of the Sky Bet League One season in the manager's absence.

"Darren asks for privacy, and will provide an update through the club during the week."

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