Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Wenger sends best wishes to old foe Fergie

By Damian Spellman

Arsene Wenger has backed old foe Sir Alex Ferguson to make a speedy recovery after undergoing emergency surgery following a brain Haemorrhage.

The 76-year-old former Manchester United manager, who won 38 trophies in his 26-and-a-half years at the club, remained in hospital in Salford yesterday, a day after it emerged that he was seriously ill in intensive care.

Wenger, who was presented with a memento to mark his impending departure from the Gunners by the Scot at Old Trafford last weekend, sent him his best wishes following his side's 5-0 Premier League victory over Burnley.

The Frenchman said: "I was with him on the pitch last week, I went to see him in the box after the game on Sunday. One week later, he looked in perfect shape.

"He told me he's doing a lot of exercise, he looked very happy, but that kind of accident can happen.

"We wish him very well and that he recovers very, very quickly. He's a strong man and an optimistic man. I got calls last night from Manchester and nobody knew exactly what it is."

Wenger had earlier mentioned Ferguson as he addressed fans on the pitch at the Emirates Stadium after his final home game.

He said: "Before I start, I just want to say, at Arsenal we care and I would like to wish my fellow manager Ferguson well and very quickly."

There was no further update on Sir Alex's condition last night, although United thanked the football community for its expressions of concern via its official Twitter account.

The post said: "Manchester United would like to thank the wider football world for the messages of support following the news that Sir Alex Ferguson underwent emergency surgery on Saturday evening."

Manchester City coach Brian Kidd, who served as Ferguson's number two at United between 1991 and 1998, said his former boss was in his thoughts and prayers.

Kidd said: "He's such an iconic person. There was a really sombre mood yesterday evening and this morning.

"You really think Sir Alex is indestructible. We've all been brought up with him. What he did for Manchester United, it's unreal. And the pressure that he was under every day to produce, it's phenomenal.

"Obviously all of us at Manchester City, he's in our prayers and thoughts, with Cathy and the kids. We wish him a speedy, healthy recovery, I hope it's really quick as well. We send all our love to him. I think that's everybody.

"I can't thank him enough, the opportunity he gave me, I'm forever indebted to him. We wish him all the love in the world, a healthy speedy recovery and God bless to him."

City boss Pep Guardiola had earlier told Sky Sports ahead of the champions' 0-0 draw with Huddersfield: "Brian Kidd, who is here now, was with [Sir Alex] for a lot of time, so a big hug and our thoughts are with his wife Cathy and the Manchester United family.

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

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted he could not believe the news which emerged on Saturday evening after bumping into Ferguson recently.

He said after his side's 1-0 defeat at Chelsea: "I met Sir Alex after the first game against Roma (in the Champions League semi-finals). He passed my way. I had a few words with him.

"When I heard it yesterday on the way to London, I really couldn't believe it. It can happen to all of us.

"He is absolutely - he was last night and will be - in my prayers 100 per cent. I wish him and his family all the best.

"He will be in a good shape again. I'm 100 per cent sure. I'm looking forward to seeing him again."

Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte also offered his support to a man he described as ``not a normal person''.

He said: ``My reaction when this type of situation happens, I'm very sad. I have had the possibility to know him and his wife and to understand that this is a special person.

``He's not a normal person, a manager who won many titles in his career. I appreciate a lot the man and yesterday this news changed my day in a bad way.

``We hope to see him quickly and he has our best wishes to recover very soon.''

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph