Sir Alex's brilliant gesture for Darren Fletcher
Darren Fletcher has described former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as being like a ‘father figure’ to him.
Speaking on MUTV Group Chat, the 36-year-old recalled being mentioned in Sir Alex’s Old Trafford farewell speech in 2013, when he was sat at home awaiting an operation.
And being name-checked in front of 76,000 adoring Reds – as well as millions watching around the globe – wasn't the only kind gesture offered by the Scot to his fellow countryman that day, after United’s era-closing 2-1 win over Swansea City.
“That was at the stage where I was literally getting ready to go for my last surgery, my life-saving surgery, and the boss had been in constant contact. I couldn’t go [to Old Trafford] that day,” remembers Fletcher.
“The boss invited my kids to go along and collect my medal. It was an unbelievable gesture, my boys were only small and he brought them to collect my medal and to be around and get pictures with the trophy, the dressing room and that.
“I was blown away. I was sat on the couch with my dad and I couldn’t believe it. That moment, that he took the time to mention me…”
According to Fletcher, the sensitive and thoughtful way Sir Alex handled his illness simply served to enhance the legendary credentials of one of the greatest managers of all time.
“People want to talk about the greatness of Sir Alex Ferguson, but it’s the small things like that people need to understand,” added Darren.
“He’s more than just a football manager. He’s a father figure and an inspiration to everybody. It’s these small little things that go so far that people will never understand.
“It’s not all about tactics on the pitch, although that’s a big part of it. These small details are just as important and Sir Alex Ferguson epitomises that.”
Fletcher, who left Stoke City last summer after two seasons with the Championship club, is now thinking of his next steps in football.
The 2008 Champions League winner is studying for his coaching badges, although he admits that, for a combination of reasons, he’s not quite ready to transition into the dugout just yet.
“[COVID-19] has obviously slowed things down a bit but [coaching] is the path I want to go down. I’m quite calm about it though, I don’t want to rush into it.
“I want to prepare myself for that busy life and that intensity of coaching and management and the impact it’ll have on my family life.
“I’m happy to take my time in doing it. If I still think I can play, I might end up joining in training or doing something silly I regret.
“I need to get my mind complete away from football before I can really progress on that next stage.”