‘I came home and Sir Alex was sat on my sofa – I didn’t know what was going on’

Manchester United physiotherapist Rod Thornley has recalled the moment he came home from school to find Sir Alex Ferguson sitting on his sofa.

Thornley is a much-loved member of the backroom staff of the Red Devils, and he even spent some time in the England camp. However, Thornley's brother – Ben Thornley – made it as a footballer at United, leading Sir Alex to rock up at their house.

He told Fore Four 2: "I've come home one day, and it's a Friday afternoon, and I've come home from school – I was like 13, 14 – and I walked past my front room. F***ing Sir Alex is set on my sofa.

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"He's sat on my sofa, with Brian Kidd next to him, and I'm like 'what's going on'… I didn't think it was me, because at the time I wasn't playing football.

"So I've run in the house, and my mum and dad have gone 'calm down we're just having a chat, just stay out of the room for an hour'. Anyway, he's said hello to me and I've got out of his way.

"They were trying to sign him [Ben] from City basically – which they did in the end."

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Ben Thornley spent five years at the Red Devils before he finally left in 1998 to join Huddersfield Town.

The following year, 1999, brother Rod joined the Red Devils as a physiotherapist – and he remains as part of the set up to this day. Interestingly, Thornley was working as a life guard, alongside being a life guard at a local leisure centre, when he was appointed by United.

He told The Athletic: "I knew a lot of the United players – Gary Neville was engaged to my sister at the time. United moved to the Carrington…and it had a swimming pool. The club needed a lifeguard to be legally covered." Thornley added the club liked how he was with the players, and they asked if he could be a masseur, where he has remained for over two decades.


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