About eight years ago, Edwin van der Sar witnessed one of the biggest frights of his life. Just before Christmas 2009, Annemarie van Kesteren, wife of the former Manchester United goalkeeper, was admitted to hospital after collapsing. She was very ill and had suffered a brain haemorrhage.
Van der Sar is, without question, one of the greatest goalkeepers to represent United. It took Sir Alex Ferguson years to replace Peter Schmeichel but finally, in 2005, the Dutchman arrived from Fulham and went on to win four Premier League titles, the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, and a League Cup.
However, when Van der Sar found out his wife was very poorly, Ferguson knew exactly where his no.1 needed to be. United were fighting to defend the title but rather than put the Dutchman on the spot, the then-United boss didn’t hesitate to grant his shot-stopper indefinite compassionate leave – without pressure to return.
This put things into perspective for Van der Sar. Football became unimportant.
Ferguson said the following back in 2009, as per the Guardian: “Annemarie had a problem when they were over in Holland about a week ago. She was admitted to hospital and that’s the best place to be until they examine her thoroughly to get to the roof of it. I’ve told Edwin just to stay there; there’s no point in him being over here. He’s in the right place beside his wife and hopefully she’ll make a good recovery.”
Ferguson underwent emergency surgery on a brain haemorrhage on Friday. When the news broke, the well-wishes from former players and rivals came flooding in, and that continues to be the case 24 hours on..
Van der Sar’s tweet was also signed off by his wife, Annemarie, who made a full recovery from the brain haemorrhage, which is fantastic and exactly what we wish for Ferguson.
Devasted about the news about Sir Alex and knowing all to well about the situation ourselves. Stay strong and hope together with everyone you recover. Edwin & Annemarie pic.twitter.com/aaxqRI9Bg7
— Edwin van der Sar (@vdsar1970) 5 May 2018
Come on, Fergie. Please pull through.