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Sir Alex Ferguson feared losing memory, speech after brain haemorrhage

FOOTBALL By Reuters | March 7th 2021
Sir Alex Ferguson manager of Manchester United lifts the Premier League trophy after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Blackpool at Old Trafford on May 22, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said he feared losing his memory and voice after suffering a brain haemorrhage in 2018.

The 79-year-old, widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time, needed emergency surgery and spent several days in intensive care at Salford Royal Hospital in greater Manchester.

“One of the first things I said the day after the operation when my family came to see me was (about) my memory,” Ferguson told questioners at Glasgow film festival on Saturday after the premiere of a documentary about the Scotsman.

“I’ve survived with having a great memory all my life. The next week... I lost my voice. I couldn’t get a word out and it was absolutely terrifying.

“Everything was going through my mind – is my memory going to be back? Am I ever going to speak again?

In this file photo taken on January 02, 2016 Manchester United's former Scottish manager Alex Ferguson prepares to watch the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England. [AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF]

Ferguson said he worked with a speech therapist and his voice returned after 10 days.

“The speech therapist came and told me to write down all the members of my family, of my football team... She asked me questions about animals, fish, birds. Eventually after 10 days my voice came back,” he said.

“I realised, having gone through all that, my memory was fine.”

Ferguson was United manager from 1986 to 2013, winning the Champions League twice, the Premier League 13 times and five FA Cups.

He was knighted in 1999, the year United won the treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup.

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