Sport Alex Ferguson: My fears that I'd never speak again after haemorrhage
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He was renowned for giving his players the 'hairdryer treatment' if they failed to meet his high standards, but Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed a life-threatening brain haemorrhage robbed him of the power to speak – and left him terrified he would not regain his voice.
Recalling the moment in a new documentary about his life, the 79-year-old Manchester United legend says: 'I lost my voice. I couldn't get a word out and that was absolutely terrifying.
'I was also afraid of losing my memories. I've survived with having a great memory all my life, so everything was going through my mind: "Is my memory going to be bad? Am I ever going to speak again?"
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'The speech therapist came and started working on me and she asked me to write down all the memories of my family, all the memories of my football teams.
'Eventually, after about ten days, my voice came back and I realised then, having gone through all that, my memory was fine because I was able to remember everything.'
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The feature-length film, directed by Sir Alex's son Jason, 49, premiered last night at the Glasgow Film Festival.
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It follows Sir Alex from the moment he collapsed at home three years ago.
Containing previously unseen archive footage and testimonies from his wife Cathy and three sons, Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In also charts his life growing up in the Govan area of Glasgow in the 1940s and 1950s, his career as a player and his triumphs as a manager, including winning 38 trophies at Manchester United.
Former colleagues and players, including Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs and Gordon Strachan, appear in the documentary which will be released in cinemas on May 27 and on Amazon Prime Video two days later.
Sir Alex said last night: 'It was important for me to do an open and honest, no-holds-barred account of my life.'
While many would imagine his proudest moments are football-related, Sir Alex says a highlight of his life was leading strikes by engineering apprentices in Glasgow in the early 1960s and negotiating a higher wage for his colleagues.
The film festival continues online at glasgowfilm.org/festival.
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