Snooker legend Ken Doherty told Man Utd icon Sir Alex Ferguson to “go f*** himself”

Manchester United fan Ken Doherty celebrated “one of the most memorable days” of his life at Old Trafford—but not before telling Sir Alex Ferguson to “go f*** himself” over the phone

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UK Championship: Doherty impresses with accurate shot

An unforgettable week in Ken Doherty ‘s life was made all the more special when Sir Alex Ferguson invited the Irishman to present his 1997 World Snooker Championship at Old Trafford.

‘Crafty Ken’ clinched his crown at the Crucible that year after defeating fellow icon Stephen Hendry 18-12 in the final. However, taking snooker ‘s top prize wasn’t enough to convince him a phone call from Fergie that followed was the genuine article.

“The voice at the other end went, ‘Kenny, Alex Ferguson here, I know you are a big Manchester United fan, how about parading that trophy up at Old Trafford?’ and I told him to go f*** himself!” Doherty recalled in an interview with the Daily Mail. “I thought it was my mate joking! He goes, ‘Kenny, I’m not going to ask you twice, it’s Alex Ferguson,’ and I said, ‘Sorry, Mr. Ferguson.’

It was also a special year for the Red Devils, who had held off Newcastle United for the second time in as many seasons to defend their Premier League crown. United fan Doherty was happy to join in the festivities as his team collected their fourth English league title in five years.

“I went up the day they were picking up the Premiership trophy against West Ham. It was incredible. The roar I got walking out at Old Trafford was one of the most memorable days of my life.”

Much like United, Doherty returned to the same battleground the following year as runner-up to John Higgins. Ferguson’s men failed to make it three title wins in a row when they lost the 1997/98 crown to Arsenal, who ended that season a single point clear.

Sir Alex Ferguson invited Ken Doherty to present his 1997 World Snooker Championship at Old Trafford


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A quarter-of-a-century later and Doherty is still attempting to extend his Triple Crown haul at the age of 52. He will, however, drop off the Main Tour after losing his card following a recent defeat to Rory McLeod in World Championship qualifying.

Instead, the ‘Darlin’ of Dublin’ will resume commentary duties with the BBC for the upcoming tournament, which gets underway on Saturday. There, top seed Mark Selby will face off against Jamie Jones in the first round, while incumbent world No. 1 Ronnie O’Sullivan opens against David Gilbert.

As difficult as it was to fathom a call from a figure like Ferguson, Doherty contended the most surreal experience following his 1997 triumph was an open-top bus ride from Dublin airport to the city centre. “I thought that was reserved for Olympic heroes or the national football team,” he said. “I remember being on College Green in 1990 when they came back from the World Cup in Italy. For me to be met by thousands at the airport, the streets lined, cars beeping, it was incredible. It shows the impact it had on the whole country.”

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