Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United fan gets off on wrong foot after snap decision over Rio Ferdinand

By Louise Small

A Manchester United fan reached breaking point after falling while photographing his beloved football team.

David Harper (47) tripped and broke his ankle while he was taking pictures of the Manchester United team at the Culloden Hotel as they boarded their coach to take them Windsor Park in Belfast for the Harry Gregg testimonial match.

The Dundonald father of three had taken his nine-year-old son Adam to the hotel as a surprise.

David said: “I had heard the Manchester United players were staying at the Culloden Hotel in Holywood, and hoped to get a few photographs of the team before they headed to Windsor Park.”

Speaking from his bed in the Ulster Hospital, David said: “There were about 20 people waiting for autographs and photos.

“At 5.15pm the coach moved around the back of the hotel and we followed it.

“Rio Ferdinand had been signing autographs and he was moving closer to us to sign more, as he passed in behind Patrice Evra I ran around a bush to get a picture and before I knew it I heard a huge crack and hit the ground.

“As soon as I landed, the United club doctor rushed over and helped me.

“He took his coat off and elevated my leg, he then took my shoe and peeled off my sock.

“It was then he saw my ankle — it was sitting at a 90 degree angle.”

The club doctor checked David over and asked a police officer at the scene to ring for an ambulance.

David believes the doctors will have to put pins, screws and plates in his ankle which he has broken in three to four places.

“I have been in agony all night. I feel awful. The swelling is really bad. I don’t even know how long I will be in the hospital.”

On a lighter note, David laughed about the moment the coach drove off and he was lying on the ground.

“I waved up to the coach, I could see Fergie sitting at the front and he waved back, then Ryan Giggs waved from the middle of the bus and then Rio Ferdinand waved to me from the back.

“I had high hopes of meeting Sir Alex, but a wave was all I could get,” he said.

A spokeswoman said: “Everyone at Manchester United wishes David well.”

Belfast Telegraph

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