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Alex Ferguson out of intensive care

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Positive news for United’s legendary manager.

Manchester City v Everton - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Early days, but good news. Manchester United have announced that former manager Alex Ferguson has left intensive care and will continue his recovery from a brain haemorrhage as an inpatient. Which is to say: he’s not out of the woods (or the hospital) yet, but he is getting better.

The club, on behalf of the family, have requested privacy, and we just have to hope that the newspapers are listening. In the meantime, this is perhaps a good moment to reflect on the events of the last few days, and the response to Ferguson’s illness in the broad world of football. It was inevitable that United fans would be concerned and shaken. More unexpected was the breadth of feeling beyond that, in the fanbases of clubs that never cared about United, or even actively loathed the club.

Obviously, there have been a few attention-seeking clowns. But watching the reactions of the broad mass of British football — concern, empathy, solidarity — has served to confirm two things. First, beyond the nonsense, there is a solid core of humanity underlying this ridiculous game of ours. Not always evident, but there when needed. And two, whether Ferguson is hero or villain, it’s distressing and difficult to imagine the world without him.

Here’s to a full recovery, and many more years of gazing calmly down at those poor fools doomed to try and follow him.