Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone surgery for a brain haemorrhage.
The 76-year-old, hailed as one of the most successful football managers ever, will now require a period of “intensive care” to help his recovery on Saturday, his former club said, adding that surgery earlier in the day had gone “very well”.
Well wishes from across the worlds of sport, politics and television have flooded in for Sir Alex as football fans set aside allegiances to send their support.
In a statement Manchester United said: “Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone surgery today for a brain haemorrhage.”
The procedure took place at Salford Royal Infirmary. Sir Alex was last night said to be surrounded by close family.
Ferguson’s son Darren, manager of League One side Doncaster, did not attend his side’s final home game of the season against Wigan due to his father’s illness.
David Beckham, perhaps Ferguson’s most high-profile former player, offered his support to Ferguson and his wife Cathy.
In said in a message on Instagram, alongside a picture of him as a youngster alongside Ferguson: “Keep fighting Boss.. Sending prayers and love to Cathy and the whole family x @manchesterunited.”
Former United striker Mark Hughes, speaking after his Southampton’s side’s draw with Everton, said: “I only just got a little whisper earlier on. I was hoping it wasn’t true. I wish him all the best.”
Sir Alex was United manager from 1986 to 2013, winning the Champions League twice and the Premier League 13 times.
He was found at home shortly before 9 am on Saturday, according to multiple reports, before being rushed to hospital.
Everton manager Sam Allardyce said: “It is tragic. I am going to find out how he is as soon as I possibly can. Obviously I knew it was extremely serious when I knew his son Darren didn’t attend his own game at Doncaster today.
“I hope he is in good hands and I hope the operation is a major success because as a personal friend…I hope he has a full recovery.”
Doncaster assistant Gavin Strachan took charge of Rovers against Wigan in Darren Ferguson’s absence.
He said after the game: “I just got a phone call late morning from the chief executive just to tell me that Darren had some family issues. He got in touch with me and said, ‘Could I take the team?’ All the preparations were done anyway, that’s all I knew really.”