Wednesday 18 September 2019

Alex Ferguson will fight with all he has, says 'devastated' Paul McGrath

Alex Ferguson
Alex Ferguson
Manchester United legend Alex Ferguson. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Ryan Nugent and Ian Begley

Ireland soccer legend Paul McGrath is hoping Alex Ferguson will "make a full recovery" after the former Manchester United manager underwent surgery following a brain haemorrhage.

McGrath said if anyone can come back strongly from this setback, it is Ferguson.

The Scot (76) last night remained in intensive care at Salford Royal Hospital, after undergoing emergency surgery on Saturday.

"Obviously I was devastated to hear, I only heard it last night [Saturday]," McGrath said.

"We all saw him for Arsene Wenger's last game at Old Trafford. I thought he looked as well as he ever did, so it was an awful shock.

"If anyone is going to [recover], it'd be Sir Alex, because he's a bullish man in all that he's done throughout his life.

"I would hope that he's going to fight this with all that he has, and I'd be hoping for a full recovery for him and his family," he added.

In a statement on Saturday night, Manchester United said Ferguson required "a period of intensive care to optimise his recovery" following surgery.

Supporters of the football club gathered around Old Trafford yesterday, where Ferguson has a statue and a stand named after him, to pray for the legendary manager.

Ferguson's son Darren was absent for his club Doncaster Rovers' last match of the season on Saturday in order to be with his family.

Social media continued to be awash with get-well messages for Ferguson, who spent almost 27 years in charge of United before retiring in 2013 as the most successful manager in British football history.

Among those sending their best wishes was Wenger himself, following his final home match in charge of Arsenal.

"I trust his strengths and his optimistic character to get over that very quickly and very well especially," Wenger said.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola also passed on his best wishes.

"A big hug and our thoughts are with his wife, Cathy, and the Manchester United family," Guardiola said.

"I was glad to have dinner with him two weeks ago, and hopefully he can recover as quickly as possible," he added.

Football icon David Beckham posted a photograph on Instagram of him signing schoolboy forms at the club alongside Ferguson.

"Keep fighting boss. Sending prayers and love to Cathy and the whole family," he wrote.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo also posted a picture with his former manager.

"My thoughts and prayers are with you my dear friend. Be strong, boss," he said.

The well-wishes also crossed over into the GAA community. Avid Manchester United supporter and former Tipperary hurler Brendan Cummins said he wore the red jersey underneath his Tipperary blue before every match.

"As an admirer and big supporter of his, I just hope he gets well soon," he said.

"He's always been a tough nut so I just hope he'd battle his way through this.

"From 1993, I had the Manchester United 'Sharp' jersey and every game I've played in championships up until this minute at club or country level I've always worn it.

"I'm the first person, I think, who has ever worn a Manchester United jersey in Croke Park and I'm very proud of that," he added.

Speaking at RTÉ's championship launch, former Dublin star Ciarán Whelan said: "I was very sad to hear the news.

"He's such a legendary figure across the world of soccer. What he's done for Man United is just incredible."

Irish Independent

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