London (AFP) – Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was sitting up and talking to his family, reports said Tuesday, as he recovers from emergency surgery following a brain haemorrhage.
The 76-year-old, who suffered the haemorrhage on Saturday, remains in intensive care and there has been no official update on his condition from the Premier League club.
But Britain’s Mail Online said the Scot, who retired in 2013, was out of a coma and showing promising early signs of recovery.
“Surgery went very well and the 76-year-old’s response to treatment has given encouragement and cautious optimism to those close to him,” the report said.
“However, they recognise it will still be a slow road to full recovery as he continues to be assessed.”
“The prognosis is good and his closest friends in football are being kept abreast of any developments,” a source told The Sun newspaper.
One of the greatest managers in football history, Ferguson won 38 trophies in more than 26 years in charge of United, including 13 Premier League titles and the Champions League twice.
Support has flooded in from the football world and from those outside the game and United midfielder Michael Carrick said that the response shows the esteem in which his former boss is held.
“The whole football world is incredible but outside of that as well, from all corners of the globe and different walks of life, people have shown their support,” he told MUTV.
“That’s the effect he had on people. It was the effect he had on everyone. He means a lot to me, as he does to this club.
“We were all praying for him and thinking of him, Cathy and the family. It’s a tough time for everyone but I’m thinking positive and hoping he will pull through.”
– Giggs tribute –
Wales manager Ryan Giggs, who was part of all of Ferguson’s 13 Premier League title-winning teams after being given his debut as a 17-year-old in 1991, told the BBC: “I know the operation has been a success — but he is a fighter and that is what makes me think he will be able to make a recovery.
“Now is the time to pray and hope he can make a full recovery. He has been the biggest influence in my career, both on and off the pitch.”
Defender Phil Jones, one of a handful of players signed by Ferguson who is still at the club, added: “I know his character. I know he has that fight in him. Hopefully he’ll recover well.
“He has got all his family and friends around him, the support from all the players and staff at Man United and football around the world.”
United have thanked the many well-wishers, including Premier League managers Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, who have spoke of their admiration for Ferguson.
Wenger enjoyed a long, and at times fractious rivalry with Ferguson as they battled for Premier League supremacy in the first decade of the Frenchman’s long reign in charge of Arsenal.
However, they later became friends and with Wenger leaving Arsenal at the end of the season, Ferguson presented his old adversary with a memento on his final visit to United’s Old Trafford ground just last weekend.
“I was with him on the pitch last week. I went to see him in the box after the game and he looked in perfect shape,” said Wenger, after his final home game as Arsenal boss on Sunday.
“He told me he is doing a lot of exercise, and he looked very happy but that kind of accident can happen. We wish him all well and to recover very quickly. He is a strong man and an optimistic man.”