Sir Alex Ferguson Book Could Be Final Chapter for Wayne Rooney at Manchester Utd

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterSeptember 8, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 04:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson look on during a training session at Carrington Training Ground on March 4, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Ever watched storm clouds gathering on the distant horizon, seen a variety of lightning bolts and heard rumbles of thunder as the rain prepares to fall? All with the knowledge there is absolutely nothing you can do about its coming?

Manchester United and manager David Moyes will recognise that feeling with former Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson set to release his new autobiography on Oct. 24, as Daniel Taylor of The Observer reported.

United and Moyes have spent the summer attempting to calm the waters caused by Ferguson's comments about striker Wayne Rooney at the end of the last Premier League season when the outgoing manager told Sky Sports that the England international had made a transfer request.

Rooney found himself sidelined for the Champions League tie against Real Madrid last season and was played in a wider role by Ferguson in several games with Robin van Persie playing the main striking role.

Moyes and the club have fought the fire since the end of last season and have reached a point where they are hopeful the 27-year-old will commit to a new contract at the club after being courted by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho during the transfer window, as Jason Burt of the Sunday Telegraph has reported.

These are delicate times in the relationship between Rooney and the club. Mourinho might have failed with two summer bids, but that will not rule him out of further interest when the transfer window reopens in January.

United vowed during the summer that Rooney would not be sold to a Premier League rival and a new contract would stave off Chelsea and Arsenal, who were also linked with the forward during the transfer window.

The standoff between Rooney and Ferguson was nothing new after the player did make a transfer request in October 2010, as Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports reported. The striker then produced a stunning U-turn and signed a new five-year deal with United.

However, after Ferguson's claim that Rooney had made a second transfer request this year, the player called for an apology in June, as John Cross of the Daily Mirror reported.

Between Moyes and United, those previously troubled waters lie still, and Rooney made a substitute appearance in the Premier League opener at Swansea City and started the game against Chelsea. And only injury prevented him playing in the defeat at Liverpool before the international break.

Ordinarily, the printed thoughts of a former manager about a player still at a club would register little on the footballing Richter Scale, but Ferguson is no ordinary boss.

The Scot spent 26 years at the helm of the club, redefining United as a major force in world football and stockpiling trophies at Old Trafford.

When he announced his retirement before the end of last season, Ferguson added his delight at being able to stay on at the club as a director and an ambassador.

Even after his retirement, Ferguson would still be an integral part of the club. That alone makes his forthcoming autobiography a potential tinder box for United.

The real concern for United is that Sir Alex has not been slow to voice an opinion in his previous books, "6 Years at United" and "Managing My Life."

Ferguson wrote of Gordon Strachan, who played under him at United and Aberdeen, that he "could not be trusted an inch," as Simon Austin of BBC Sport noted.

Former United assistant manager Brian Kidd was also on the receiving end of criticism when he was described as "complex and insecure" by Ferguson, as Mark Ogden of the Daily Telegraph reported.

The fiercest criticism was reserved for former Rangers PR man Willie Allison, who Ferguson claimed disapproved of his marriage to his Catholic wife, Cathy, as Brian McIver of the Daily Record noted.

The principal muck-spreader was Willie Allison, the bigoted public relations officer, who clearly felt that anybody married to a Catholic was not a fit and proper person to play for Rangers.

Allison was a religious bigot of the deepest dye. I had a thoroughly Protestant upbringing but, of course, Cathy is Catholic and so were my mother’s family.

On hearing that Allison had been diagnosed with cancer, Ferguson admitted he "did not have a crumb of pity for him," as Taylor reported in The Observer article on Sunday.

Undoubtedly, there will be heady interest in the forthcoming serialisation rights for the autobiography.

Since Ferguson's last tome in 1999, he has been at the maelstrom of many major events, and his views on David Beckham, Roy Keane and other major figures in the game through that time will be of huge interest to people both inside and outside of the game.

But it is his view of Rooney which will dictate the topical relevance of the autobiography and may also cause untold damage to United and Moyes' relationship with the striker.

Keeping Rooney out of Chelsea's clutches this summer might only have been the prologue for Moyes and the club.