Sunday 24 February 2019

'If anyone can come back from this op it's Ferguson', says legend McGrath

Alex Ferguson
Alex Ferguson

Ireland legend Paul McGrath says Alex Ferguson will "fight with all he's got" after undergoing brain surgery.

He said if anyone can come back from the operation, it is the former Manchester United manager.

Ferguson (76) remains in intensive care at Salford Royal Hospital, near Manchester, after undergoing emergency surgery on Saturday for a bleed on the brain.

"Obviously, I was devastated to hear the news," said McGrath.

"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's Alex. He's been a bullish man in all that he's done throughout his life.

A statue of legendary football manager Sir Alex Ferguson is pictured outside the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand at Old Trafford. Photo: Getty Images
A statue of legendary football manager Sir Alex Ferguson is pictured outside the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand at Old Trafford. Photo: Getty Images

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

In a statement on Saturday night, Manchester United said that Ferguson required "a period of intensive care" after the surgery.


Supporters of the club yesterday prayed for him at Old Trafford, where he has a stand named after him and a statue.

Ferguson's son, Darren, who manages Doncaster, was absent for the club's last match of the season on Saturday so that he could be with the rest of the family.

Social media continued to be awash with get-well messages for Ferguson, who spent almost 27 years at United.

When he retired in 2013, he was the most successful manager in British football history.

Paul McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile
Paul McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile

Among the well-wishers was Wenger, after his final home match in charge of Arsenal yesterday.

"I trust his strengths and his optimistic character to get over this very quickly," he 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," he said.

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

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany also tweeted his support.

"Hang in there Alex. Thoughts are with the family and close ones," he wrote.

The well-wishes even crossed over into the GAA community, with Dublin legend Ciaran Whelan saying he was praying for a speedy recovery.

"It was very sad to hear the news. He's such a legendary figure across the world of soccer. What he's done for Manchester United is just incredible," he said.

"I'm sure he'll pull through and come back stronger than ever.

"He has the type of resolve and I'm praying he'll bounce back," he added.

Avid 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 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.

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