Messages of support continued to pour in yesterday, as legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson fought for his life following emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage.
Considered the most successful manager in the history of British soccer, Ferguson won 38 major trophies in just more than 26 years in charge of Manchester United, including 13 Premier League titles and two UEFA Champions League titles.
It is a measure of the Scot’s success on the pitch and his stature off it that tributes poured in from around the world of sport and beyond to wish the 76-year-old a speedy recovery after he underwent surgery on Saturday.
“Everyone at AC Milan wishes Sir Alex Ferguson a full and speedy recovery,” the seven-time European champions said on Twitter early yesterday morning.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, who is on the verge of leading the Turin giants to a seventh successive Serie A crown, said: “Stay strong Alex Ferguson.”
News of Ferguson’s condition also had an impact beyond the world of soccer. The Chicago White Sox posted a heartfelt message on Twitter weeks after one of their players, Danny Farquhar, suffered a brain hemorrhage while sitting in the team dugout.
“The #WhiteSox stand with the @ManUtd community in sending our positive thoughts to Sir Alex Ferguson,” the message said. “Having been recently impacted by a brain hemorrhage in our own family, we know the dramatic impact it causes, and the strength that can be drawn from those who care.”
Ferguson, who retired from management five years ago, appeared in good health last week when presenting a commemorative vase to old rival Arsene Wenger, who is stepping down as Arsenal manager, at United’s Old Trafford.
However, an ambulance was called to the Scot’s home in Cheadle, near Manchester, at 9am on Saturday.
Concerns for Ferguson’s health mounted when it was announced that his son, Darren, the manager of English third-tier club Doncaster, would miss his side’s match against Wigan because of “family reasons.”
News of Ferguson’s operation was made public by United in a statement that appeared to be cautiously optimistic about his prospects for recovery.
“Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone emergency surgery today for a brain hemorrhage,” the statement said on Saturday. “The procedure has gone very well, but he needs a period of intensive care to optimize his recovery. His family request privacy in this matter.”
Pending updates on Ferguson’s condition yesterday, messages of support from all walks of life poured in.
“I wish Sir Alex Ferguson a speedy and full recovery,” British Labour Party Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell said. “A brilliant manager and a good man, who won the respect of all of us football supporters worldwide.”
Wenger, who spent many years as Ferguson’s main managerial rival in the Premier League, offered his support to the Scot in a short statement to the Daily Mail.
“I am concerned and I’m thinking about him and his family,” he said. “I trust his strength and his strong character will get him well very quickly.”
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