by Ivan Lim on

The English Premier League has just ended with Manchester City winning the title with a whopping century of points; Tottenham Hotspur confirmed as the only London Club that will see Champions League action next season; and Liverpool securing fourth spot before their Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev on May 26.

But the story from the past week that warmed our hearts was one relating to Manchester United.

Not their second place – and a distant 19 points behind neighbours Manchester City, but a story from the 1990s by a reporter who used to work in the Mercury newspaper in Leicester.

Jeremy Clay said that there was one Mercury reader named Alice – a woman in her 90s – who would come to their newsroom demanding they wrote more reports about Manchester United.

The reporter protested that they were a Leicester newspaper and were therefore more concerned about matters in and around Leicestershire, but Alice, who was born in London but lived in Leicester and supported Manchester United, scoffed at such provincial small-mindedness. Clay soon found out that Alice was Manchester United’s oldest season-ticket holder.

And here’s the fun part: According to Alice, Manchester United’s manager at that time – Sir Alex Ferguson – would arrange for a minibus to drive her from Leicester to Manchester and back. Not just once. But every time the Red Devils played at Old Trafford.

And that’s not all Sir Alex did for the nonagenarian.

One day, Alice showed up at Clay’s office and it transpired that she had stopped attending any of Manchester United’s matches. Her eyesight was failing and she was too old to go for corrective surgery on the UK’s National Health Service. Then she told Clay that Sir Alex had offered to pay for the operation.

“She didn’t want it going in the paper, she said. It wasn’t something he was doing for publicity. She just wanted me to know the kind of man he was,” said Clay in a tweet.

Sir Alex, 76, was admitted to Salford Royal Hospital on May 5 for emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage. He is reportedly out of intensive care and recovering.

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Ahead of Manchester United’s final league game of the season against Watford yesterday, manager Jose Mourinho started his programme notes with this message: “Everybody at Manchester United is sending their best wishes to Sir Alex Ferguson and we are all very, very positive about his ongoing recovery.”

No doubt many a Manchester United fan in Singapore would be wishing him a speedy recovery, too. Along with the many fans in Singapore of the other English league clubs, especially if they know what kind of man, or what a kind man he is.