Sir Alex Ferguson‘s greatest fear after suffering a brain haemorrhage nearly three years ago was losing the ability to recount an extraordinary life in and out of football.
“Losing my memory was my biggest fear when I suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2018,” the Scotsman said ahead of the release of Amazon Prime‘s new documentary, Sir Alex Ferguson: Never Give In.
“In the making of this film I was able to revisit the most important moments of my life, good and bad.”
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DNA and Passion Pictures have combined to make the film, which will be available to Amazon Prime viewers in the UK and Ireland from 29 May.
Produced by Bafta winner Andrew Macdonald, who worked on Trainspotting, and directed by Ferguson’s son, Jason, it will chart the former Manchester United manager’s journey from Govan, a working-class district of Glasgow, to becoming the manager considered by many to be the greatest of all time.
Ferguson, now 79, gives a core interview telling of success and failure, though inevitably not in equal measure.
There is the story of his European Cup Winners’ Cup triumph with Aberdeen in 1983 and his 13 titles, two Champions League crowns, five FA Cups and four League Cups in England with United, but also of the dry years when he first took his seat at Old Trafford in 1986.
At a Q&A at Glasgow Film Festival, which showed unseen archive footage from his career for the first time, Ferguson recalled having to work with a speech therapist after fearing he’d lose his voice altogether following surgery in 2018.
“I lost my voice, just could not get a word out, and that was terrifying – absolutely terrifying,” he said. “And everything was going through my mind: is my memory going to come back? Am I ever going to speak again?”
The film reveals how despite making it as a professional footballer, he was still considered a “black sheep” by some members of his family after a brawl on a night out which saw him summoned to court and fined £3.
There is also focus on his upbringing in Glasgow, where he said “the only thing you had was football – football every day… There was nothing else in my life”.
How to watch
- Release date: 29 May
- Available in cinemas*: 27 May
- Broadcaster: Amazon Prime
- How to watch on Amazon Prime: Existing Amazon Prime customers can stream on smart TVs and on most devices by downloading the Amazon Prime app. New customers can sign up to a month-long free trial.
- What countries is it available in? Universal Pictures International has world rights, apart from in North America.
*Will depend on coronavirus restrictions and the re-opening of cinemas
As well as his wife, Lady Cathy Ferguson, and other members of his family, the film also features contributions from former United players Eric Cantona and Ryan Giggs.
When asked for his favourite memory of Manchester United fans, Ferguson pointed to the scenes when he first guided the club to the First Division title.
“God almighty – I couldn’t get out of the car park,” he said. “There were thousands of them … they could have made me president that day.”
Jason Ferguson, the film’s director, had previously risen to prominence as a football agent.
Indeed, it was following the BBC Three documentary Fergie and Son, which made allegations (which Ferguson disputed) that Jason had used his father’s reputation as an advantage in the transfer market, that the then-United manager refused to give interviews to the corporation, a boycott which lasted seven years. Ferguson eventually ended the boycott after meeting with representatives from the BBC in 2011.
Since retiring in 2013, Ferguson has regularly been seen in attendance at United matches and reportedly worked in a consultancy role when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed.
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