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13th Jul 2016

Steve Bruce recalls the time Sir Alex Ferguson fought Turkish police

"He's over 50 years old, but he's straight in, wades in."

Robert Redmond

“He’s over 50 years old, but he’s straight in, wades in.”

Manchester United fans of a certain age will vividly remember the club’s Champions League tie against Galatasaray in 1993.

The two sides drew the first-leg 3-3 at Old Trafford, and United travelled to Istanbul needing to win the game to advance to the next stage of the competition (this was before the initiation of the group stages in the Champions League).

Alex Ferguson’s side were met with a very hostile reception.

United were greeted by “Welcome to hell” banners, and were unable to secure a win at the hostile Ali Sami Yen Stadium, with the game finishing goalless.

Eric Cantona was sent-off late on, and an altercation occurred in the tunnel between United players and Turkish police.

Steve Bruce, in addition to stating his case to be the next England manager, recalled the incident during an interview with The Daily Mail.

The former Manchester United captain added a further layer to the infamous story, claiming that Sir Alex Ferguson, the then 51-year-old United manager, physically fought the Turkish police.


“Hundreds of coppers with big rottweilers barking at you, straining on the leash,” the Hull City manager said.

“One started giving Eric some gyp, so Eric decided to give it back. Now we’re all getting battered. Bryan Robson, captain of England, he’s in there. Typical Bryan, he’s swung this punch and there’s a hook on the wall. Nowhere near the fella he’s trying to hit, but he’s caught his elbow on it, ripped his arm completely open.

“Blood everywhere. He’s screaming, and a big Turk comes in and boots him. So now we’re tearing into them, trying to fight our way out of there, and over my shoulder I see Fergie come flying back down the stairs. He’s taking his jacket off as he comes. He’s over 50 years old, but he’s straight in, wades in. We eventually get back to the dressing room.

“Fergie comes barging through. His hair’s all over the place, his tie is under his ear and he says, “None of you have been fighting have you? No team of mine has been fighting, eh?” And we’re all, “No, boss”. So he says, “Didn’t think so”, and goes out and tells the world that his players have been assaulted in the tunnel.

“And I remember the door closed behind him that night, and we all looked at each other and said: ‘He’ll do’. He created that spirit.”