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Sir Alex Ferguson was ‘terrified’ he’d never speak again after brain haemorrhage operation

Written by on 06/03/2021

Sir Alex Ferguson has said he was “terrified” he would never be able to speak again after suffering a brain haemorrhage in 2018.

Speaking at a Q&A at Glasgow Film Festival (GFF), the former Manchester United manager, 79, said he was worried he could lose his voice and memory after undergoing emergency surgery.

A new documentary about the two-time Champions League-winning manager premiered at the GFF on Saturday.

Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In – directed by his son Jason – was filmed while he was recovering from the operation.

File photo dated 26-05-2019 of Sir Alex Ferguson. Issue date: Wednesday February 17, 2021.
Image: The former manager suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2018.

Aware that his memory might desert him, the film sees Sir Alex recount the most important stories of his life, in and out of football.

Speaking alongside his son during a virtual Q&A after the premiere, he said the recovery from the operation was terrifying.

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“I lost my voice, just could not get a word out, and that was terrifying – absolutely terrifying,” he said.

“And everything was going through my mind: Is my memory going to come back? Am I ever going to speak again?”

With a speech therapist he worked through exercises in which he had to recall every member of his teams and his voice came back after 10 days.

The documentary also looked at Sir Alex’s upbringing in Scotland.

“I speak for every young boy in Govan and Glasgow, that growing up, the only thing you had was football – football every day,” he said.

“There was nothing else in my life.”

As a young man, Sir Alex organised strikes of apprentice workers, helping to win better wages.

“There are moments in your life when you say, I did something really worthwhile,” he said, stressing he was proud of his role in the strikes.

Sir Alex Ferguson lifts the trophy from one of his many Premier League titles. Pic: Action Images/John Sibley
Image: Sir Alex lifts the trophy from one of his many Premier League titles. Pic: Action Images/John Sibley

Ferguson, who retired in 2013, won 38 trophies during a 26-year spell in charge of United, and previously managed East Stirlingshire, St Mirren, Aberdeen and the Scotland national team.

He told the Q&A that his favourite memory of Manchester United fans was on the day he won the league title for the first time.

“God almighty – I couldn’t get out of the car park,” he said. “There were thousands of them… they could have made me president that day.”

 Sky News

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