Wednesday, 13 November 2013

alex ferguson - my autobiography (paul hayward)

Rather sadly, after all the fuss in the newspapers about Alex Ferguson settling old scores in his autobiography (ghost written by Paul Hayward), it turned out to be quite tame, as most of the stories were well known and he had expressed his opinions about them in the past.
Obviously the newspapers exaggerated tales of falling out with David Beckham due to Beckham's immersion into the celebrity lifestyle, which Ferguson thought distracted him from from making football his priority, but he also has a lot of praise for him and how he has turned out, as well as the other members of the Manchester United youth team that grew up together at the club (Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, The Nevilles, Ryan Giggs etc), considering them to be like his own children in some ways.  He received a 1941 Rolex watch as a leaving present from the players, set at his time of birth, and the 'Fergie time' watch pointing on the touchline was to put off opponents, reminding them it's near the end of the game, and United usually score.
Mostly the book is about control and respect, and how the manager always has to be more important than any member of the team, and if players step too far out of line, they have to go, no matter how big a star they are at the club. It's not even a real in depth autobiography, as it mainly deals with the last few years at United, rather than revisiting old stories and books.
The fallings out with Roy Keane and Jaap Stam were only slightly elaborated on from past statements, and Ferguson glosses over the Rock of Gibraltar fiasco, as there is apparently a court agreement that the terms of the settlement cannot be discussed.  He is not keen on Dennis Wise (who is?), does not think that Steven Gerrard is a 'top, top player' (but praises him) and has little time for Rafael Benitez (but praises Liverpool football club).  And that's about it.
I'm always amazed at how Ferguson finds the time to have outside interests, but apart from the horse racing and love of fine wine, the main discovery from this book was that he collects J.F Kennedy memorabilia, and reads a lot about that, plus the American Civil War and World Dictators.  Plus he speaks French.
Lord knows when the piano playing is squeezed in.
It's interesting if you are a  Manchester United fan, but no-where near as scandalous as it has been portrayed. I much preferred 'A Will To Win' his diary from the mid 1990's, and 'Managing My Life', which was his earlier autobiography, out after the glorious treble win in 1999.

toodle pip

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