Shrimps legend’s memories of Sir Alex

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A former Morecambe FC star says he could tell Sir Alex Ferguson was going to be a football legend, even when he played against him 50 years ago.

Gerry Irving, 75, was with Queen of the South in the early 1960s when he came across a young Ferguson, then with St Johnstone.

Gerry, who played for the Shrimps in the 1960s and 1970s, said the legendary Manchester United boss who announced his retirement last week, was known for his robust playing style.

He said: “He was a really bustling player.

“We called him ‘razor elbows’.

“I think I still have the bruises from when I played against him!”

Gerry, who lives on Westgate, was signed by Bill Shankly for Cumbrian side Workington Reds and also played against a 19-year-old Brian Clough in a game against Middlesbrough Reserves.

He said: “Even then you could tell Ferguson was going to be one of the best.

“He was passionate, cajoling and shouting at his team mates because he wanted to win so much.

“It was the same with Bill Shankly and Brian Clough.

“Men with passion and drive who wanted to be successful.

“He’s one of the greats of the game.”

Central midfielder Gerry, who was an FA Trophy winner with the Shrimps in 1974, says Ferguson remembered him when they met several years later at a sportsman’s dinner.

He said: “It was a dinner at Lancaster City.

“I went over to him and asked him who I was and he remembered right away.”

Ferguson bid farewell to the Old Trafford crowds on Saturday following the Red Devils’ 2-1 win over Swansea.

He will move into the directors’ box after the trip to West Brom on Sunday having won his 13th Premier League title as United manager.