Sir Alex Ferguson has been rushed to hospital where he has undergone emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage, Manchester United have confirmed.
The legendary Red Devils boss, 76, was reportedly taken to Salford Royal Hospital, with a police escort, after he was initially taken to Macclesfield district hospital.
Manchester United released the following statement today at 8pm: “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 family request privacy in this matter.”
Ferguson’s son Darren Ferguson was forced to miss Doncaster’s final game of the season against Wigan as news emerged of the severe family issue.
A statement from the Yorkshire club 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.”
The football community has come together to send their well-wishes to Ferguson, upon hearing the news.
Michael Carrick wrote: “Absolutely devastated to hear about Sir Alex being unwell in hospital. All my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
While Luke Shaw added: “Sending my love and best wishes to Sir Alex.”
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany said: “Hang in there Sir Alex. Thoughts are with the family and close ones.”
And Gary Lineker wrote: “Very sorry to hear the news that Sir Alex Ferguson is seriously ill in hospital. Wish him all the very best.”
Everton boss Sam Allardyce spoke to the press ahead his side’s late draw with Southampton on Saturday, saying: “It’s tragic. I am going to try to find out how he is as soon as I can.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United honours
Premier League (13)
1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2012–13
FA Cup (5)
1989–90, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04
League Cup (4)
1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10
Champions League (2)
Charity/Community Shield (10)
1990 (shared), 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011
Cup Winners’ Cup (1)
UEFA Super Cup (1)
Intercontinental Cup (1)
FIFA Club World Cup (1)
“I hope he’s in good hands and that the operation is a major success. I know it was bad when his son Darren missed the Doncaster game.
“Now Manchester United have confirmed he has had a bleed on the brain. He is a personal friend and I hope he has a full recovery.”
Scotland manager Alex McLeish, a former player of Ferguson’s at Aberdeen, said: None of us are immortal but Alex is a fighter and I’m certain he can come through this and make a full recovery. My thoughts are with Cathy and the family.”
While Peter Reid said: “It’s sad news but if Sir Alex is a fighter. We are all rooting for him and hope he can make a full and speedy recovery.”
Ferguson was recently at Old Trafford, where he watched Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday, April 29.
He shook hands with Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who has announced he will be leaving at the end of the season after 22 years in charge, and handed him a gift. The pair then hugged on the touchline.
After the game, Wenger said: “It was very nice, classy and I enjoyed it. I have come here for a long long time and next time someone else will sit on the bench and get a hostile reception don’t worry.
“It’s surprising because it’s not what always you imagine but life always goes on and sometimes it gets better.”
Ferguson also took Pep Guardiola out for dinner last month to congratulate him on Manchester City’s Premier League title success this season.
The Spaniard has enjoyed a stunning league campaign in charge of Manchester City, winning England’s top prize as early as mid-April.
The Scot twice came up against Guardiola in Champions League finals, in 2009 and 2011. But on both occasions the Spaniard led Barcelona to victory.
However all rivalry – and the fact he’s now manager of United’s so called “noisy neighbours” – was forgotten as Ferguson treated the 47-year-old to a meal.
Ferguson was Manchester United manager for 26 years before standing down after winning the Premier League in 2013 and becoming a director and ambassador for the club.
The Scot won a whopping 38 trophies at the helm of the Old Trafford club including 13 league titles and two Champions League crowns.
At the time Ferguson said: “The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about. It is the right time.”
He also wrote the following in his 2015 book Leading: “Now, after a lifetime of getting ready for work at six in the morning, I like waking up at eight, having breakfast with Cathy (which I had not done for 30 years), reading the paper, and going to have lunch in the village.
“I suppose retirement, for some people, can be like bereavement. Immediately after you retire there are lots of things to do and plenty of people around.
“Normally, after the players had disappeared at the end of the season, I would be in my office at Carrington every day until we left for our annual holiday in France in early June. In 2013 I found there were other things that filled my time.
“There was a fair amount of press attention after I retired, and I was helping to put the finishing touches to my autobiography.
“After that the summer got chewed up, with a pair of notable firsts, one more pleasurable than the other: a boat trip up the coast of Western Scotland, and a stint in the hospital for a hip replacement.”