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Sir Alex Ferguson: I feared I’d never speak again after brain operation. I was terrified

© PASir Alex Ferguson.
Sir Alex Ferguson.

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

The former Manchester United manager told a Q&A at Glasgow Film Festival he was worried he could lose his voice and memory after having emergency surgery. A new documentary about the two-time Champions League-winning manager premiered at the film festival yesterday.

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

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 admitted 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. Ferguson, who retired in 2013, won 38 trophies during a 27-year spell in charge of United. He also managed Aberdeen, St Mirren and East Stirlingshire.

The documentary looks 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.”