LONG-TIME friend Craig Brown admitted he believed Sir Alex Ferguson was indestructible.

The pair have been pals for six decades and the former Scotland international gaffer insists the fighting qualities of the Manchester United legend will help him win his biggest battle after suffering a brain haemorrhage on Saturday.

The 76-year-old Glaswegian has undergone emergency surgery and was still in intensive care last night.

Brown said: “I always thought Sir Alex was indestructible, but if anyone has the courage and determination to surmount this adversity it’s Sir Alex.

“I don’t know the medical prognosis, but if we’re basing it on his character, then I’d be positively optimistic he’ll pull through because he’s a tough guy.

“Jock Stein was another we thought was indestructible because he was a big, powerful guy and Sir Alex is as tough as you’ll get both mentally and physically.

“He isn’t just the greatest Scottish manager, but THE greatest football manager. I always refer to him as the best manager on the planet and I genuinely believe that’s the case.

“Jose Mourinho has a big reputation, but Sir Alex has 13 English Premier League titles. It’s quite a staggering CV in club management.”

Brown said: “I was at a dinner in East Kilbride and Alex’s brother Martin was scheduled to be there. But he didn’t turn up and that was the first indication that something wasn’t right.

“He’d sent word that he was in Manchester as Alex had taken ill and the news came through later of just how serious it was.

“Ally McCoist was there and I was speaking at the dinner, but Martin sent his apologies and alarm bells were ringing.”

Brown will always be grateful to Ferguson for taking him as part of the Scotland coaching team to the World Cup Finals 30 years ago this summer.

A firm friendship built up over the previous three decades was behind the decision. Brown added: “When Jock Stein died and he became the Scotland manager it was an honour to be asked to go to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

“I wasn’t even in the Premier Division at the time, I was with Clyde, so to be asked by the best manager on the planet to join his staff along with Archie Knox and Walter Smith was a real privilege.

“People say football is an old pals’ act so Alex Ferguson, like most managers, took his three pals to Mexico. We went to another World Cup together, but that was social.

“When Scotland failed to qualify for the 1994 event I met him in America and we were guests of Umbro and I played in his charity golf day every year.

“I was first in his company in 1957 when he were opponents. He was playing for Glasgow Schools and I was playing for Rest of Scotland.

“That acted as a trial for the Scotland Schoolboys team and we were both picked in 1958 – exactly 60 years ago – and that’s when we first became friends.

“We played against England in London and he was the same in those games as he was throughout his career – competitive!
“He was a regular on the coaching courses at Largs, as was I, so we built up a strong friendship over the years.”

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About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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