EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Crolla reveals how Sir Alex Ferguson is one of his biggest fans

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Anthony Crolla is a diehard Manchester United fan

The Manchester-born lightweight is a diehard United fan and grew up idolising Fergie and his all-conquering teams.

Season ticket holder Crolla, 30, has had to keep his trips to Old Trafford to a minimum as he prepares for Saturday’s rematch with WBA champion Jorge Linares.

But he got some extra motivation from the managerial great recently when he saw a video of him wishing Crolla luck and telling him to give Linares “hell” as when “he wins, United win”.

“That was mad,” Crolla said as he finished off a training session with some sit-ups. “He wished me luck for the fight.


Alex FergusonGETTY


Alex Ferguson managed Manchester United for 26 years, winning 38 trophies


“He was a god, he was the man. I’d let him train me if I could”


Anthony Crolla

“I was watching his teams for years. It’s surreal. It is something I will keep forever. I have motivation every morning when I wake up and see my little boy and my family but that adds even more.

“I have a big following from the club and when they see that it gets them all going as well.

“He was a god, he was the man. I’d let him train me if I could! If you were a United fan growing up he was everything.

“I only met him once, years ago when I was at the Cliff when I was nine.

“But back then I stayed off school for the day, I shouldn’t have done. I still have the pics of me and the players – Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes, I was on a high for days and days.

“I have a picture of him somewhere at home. I was there hanging around the training ground getting pics with him and now he’s calling me up and talking me up – it’s mad.”

Crolla has had a rollercoaster career of 31 wins, five defeats and three draws and still struggles to comprehend his growing stardom.

He may have lost the first fight with silky skilled Venezuelan Linares last September, but he won even more fans with his performance and more than 14,000 will cheering him on at Manchester Arena on Saturday.

“There is a make-up artist on social media that is local. It sounds weird, but she was putting times up and it was ‘all booked for Crolla fight night’,” said Crolla.

“She’s fully booked because people are coming to see me! Even something so small like that is still mad to me. I will always be in debt to my fans.

“They make the night with the atmosphere, I’m just the lucky one who gets in the ring and fights.”

Crolla will hope to give those fans an even more memorable night by avenging his defeat to Linares and his preparations have been meticulous.

They include watching the first bout over and over again.

He has it playing on a continuous loop on a laptop perched by the ring in Amir Khan’s Bolton gym – the base for Crolla’s coach Joe Gallagher – and watches it between sparring with super-featherweight prospect Zelfa Barrett,

“I lost count the amount of times I’ve watched it back,” he said. “Every time I seem to look at it he catches me with that shot at the end of the sixth. It’s a nice reminder!

“I’ve watched it many times and Joe has watched it even more. I am finding little bits that I didn’t see before every time I watch it.”

Crolla is hoping for a better ending to the sequel.


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