Sir Alex Ferguson Autobiography: Details and Reaction from Controversial Book
The UK football scene is on edge, with players, managers, journalists and supporters alike beginning to react to the release of the much-anticipated autobiography of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The recently retired Manchester United manager has shared his wisdom on football matters of the past three decades, with his insight into the departures of Roy Keane, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy from Old Trafford keenly awaited.
His views on fellow managers Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez were also on the agenda, per the Press Association's Simon Stone, via The Independent.
From Sir Alex Ferguson, via David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror:
I wrote the book for the fans. To let them understand why I had to make certain decisions, not for the Press.
The book is to make people understand how difficult the [Manchester United] job is. It's a massive club, the biggest in the world, and that expectation is always there.
The Daily Mail's Neil Ashton quotes Wayne Rooney, who told ITV:
Obviously he's (Ferguson) got his own opinion. I've not said nothing and thankfully he's come back and corrected the story that I put a transfer request in. He's come back and proved that I didn't, so I'm thankful for him for it.
I haven't seen him since he retired so I'm happy under the new management and we're working to get results under David Moyes and his coaching staff. That's the main thing for me. The other stuff doesn't concern me.
Highlights from Ferguson's book, revealed by the Daily Mail:
He came into my office the day after we won the league and asked away.
He wasn’t happy with being left out for some games and subbed in others. His agent Paul Stretford phoned David Gill with the same message.
Matt Lawton and Ian Ladyman paraphrase:
On Dalglish’s return to Anfield, Ferguson says few of the Liverpool manager’s signings gave him nightmares. Ferguson believes (Jordan) Henderson’s gait will cause him problems later in his career because he runs from his knees with a straight back.
He identifies (Stewart) Downing as a £20 million player who was neither the bravest, nor the quickest. He is no fan of (Andy) Carroll either, citing problems with his ‘mobility’ and ‘his speed across the ground’.
We played down at Wimbledon and Bosnich was tucking into everything: sandwiches, soups, steaks. He was going through the menu.
I told him, “For Christ’s sake, Mark, we’ve got the weight off you, why are you tucking into all that stuff?”
More Ferguson highlights, courtesy of The Telegraph:
Wayne felt he was unfairly played out of position and I can understand that... but at the time Wayne wasn’t playing well enough. That was my judgment.
Do you think I would drop Rooney the way he is playing now? I want Wayne in this form all the time. He is the hope for England, one of the great players for United and when we see him in that form we see a great player. He is playing that way now.
Rooney wanted Ozil
The thing was Ozil was not on our radar. I said that to Wayne at the time. We got most things right over the years, we signed Javier Hernandez that summer and my first thought was him and Rooney playing together.
Ozil played wide right at Werder Bremen and then off the front in the second half of the season, he was part of the great U21 team that went to South Africa and played very well but had not been on our radar to have as a No 10.
When they took him after his metatarsal it was ridiculous. He was never going to be fit and it proved the point.
I made the difference between him and Beckham – he was the fittest player at United. Streets ahead of everyone.
So after his metatarsal, I said David would have no problem playing in a World Cup. I had strong reservations Rooney shouldn't have gone.
Beckham is natural, Wayne needs a lot of work. He had a stocky frame. David is slim and tall. A naturally fit boy, whereas Wayne needs to work very strongly.
I think the big problem for me, and I'm a football man, was he fell in love with Victoria and that changed everything. I had to think of my own control at the club. If he asked my advice about moving to LA Galaxy I would have told him – how you leave Real Madrid?
He reinvented himself a couple of times and that was down to the national stamina he had. At the end he missed the big-time football. Maybe he will look back and say he should have stayed at Real Madrid. How can I argue with how he has turned out as a human being? He is an icon to kids and a very wealthy guy.
He was always a marvellous footballer and had a tremendous ambition to be a footballer. It was a wonderful period for Manchester United and he worked to get to the point where he became a great player. I think we made the right decision letting him go to Real Madrid as we felt it was time.
As a manger of Manchester United the predominant thing is that you have control over a long period. With the number of players I’ve had there will be issues and it’s not about settling scores. it’s about explaining decisions. The most important thing was not losing control if I wanted to stay at Manchester United. The manager is the most important person in that respect.
Pep Guardiola's record as a coach is phenomenal, in terms of personality and the way his teams play it's first class.
When he first came there was as link with him and an agent which I turned down. I wasn’t seriously concerned with that.
United's season so far?
This press conference has come at a bad time – if they were top of the league I wouldn’t be asked. When I joined Manchester United I got great encouragement from Sir Matt Busby.
When I saw that fixture list I would have been raging at that! I would have gone down to the league myself. It was really difficult. But Manchester United are the only team that can win that league coming from behind. He [David Moyes] is in a great position and will get the same support I got. They will be fine.
Here are some of the highlights from Ferguson's press conference, courtesy of The Telegraph:
The nature of the man, you can expect that that is the personality Roy is. The reason I had to explain it was that it happened so quickly. For some reason he decided to criticise his team-mates.
We couldn’t accept it. It resulted in two young players getting booed. We decided we had to do something.
The meeting was horrendous. I just couldn’t lose my control in this situation and if I had let it pass the players would have viewed me much differently to the way I want to judged.
He overstepped his mark, absolutely, and we did well – we paid up his contract and gave him a testimonial. We did everything we could to honour the fact that he was a great player for us.
Why did you write the book? Did you consider the England job? And was the book cleared with United?
Three questions! Typical Sky! Greed. Of course I cleared it with the club. They asked my to make one factual change regarding Cristiano Ronaldo.
That was the only thing that came from that. It was a great opportunity in life to relegate them [England]. The first time was Adam Crozier, they approached Martin Edwards and I said: "Forget it, I’m not interested."
I met Adam Crozier at Old Trafford. It didn’t take me long – 10 seconds. There was no way I could manage England. Think of me going back to Scotland! Deary me.
Thoughts on Fabio Capello, Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini?
I got on well with all three. Mancini brought a very nice wine. Carlo was a very nice man. Fabio Capello was England manager so I didn’t have the same same dealings with them. Roberto always bought very good wine, I’m sorry he’s left!
Money can change everything and they have definitely progressed. They won the league from us but Manchester United have always faced challenges like that. They are one of these clubs that accept challenges time and time again, you can go back to the 1950s. When Jose Mourinho came along and Chelsea won twice in a row we adjusted to that. Challenges are not a problem for Manchester United.
From Oliver Kay of The Times:
Ferguson on Steven Gerrard: "I'm one of the few who felt Gerrard was not a top, top player."— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) October 22, 2013
Ferguson on Lampard: "Lampard, for me, was a marvellous servant for Chelsea, but I didn’t think of him as an elite international footballer"— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) October 22, 2013
The media tunes in to Ferguson...
The Guardian provides 10 main takeaways from Ferguson's book, listed under the following headers:
- Loyalty to the Glazers is undimmed
- Rooney wanted Ozil
- Wine with Jose Mourinho … and his transfer failures
- The Pizzagate match at Old Trafford "scrambled Arsene's brain"
- Manchester City's success was hard to stomach
- David Beckham and regret
- He found handling the media difficult in his later years
- He is no fan of the FA – or referees
- Ruud was rude
The UK football scene is on edge, with players, managers, journalists and supporters alike waiting for the release of the much-anticipated autobiography of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The recently retired Manchester United manager is not expected to hold back in his comments on football over the last two decades, with his insight into the departures of Roy Keane, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy from Old Trafford keenly awaited.
Elsewhere, it is expected he will offer his views on fellow managers Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez, per the Press Association's Simon Stone, via the Independent.
Journalist and ghost writer for the book, Paul Hayward, says of the content:
Ferguson decided several years ago to revisit the upheavals of the past decade, and to examine how he maintained control in the face of changes in United's ownership, the rise of player power and the new threats posed by Roman Abramovich's Chelsea and the Middle-Eastern wealth of Manchester City.
Quite what effect the release of his book, scheduled for Oct. 22, will have on those still at Old Trafford also remains to be seen, with the final days of his spell at the club marked by a dispute over the future of striker Wayne Rooney.
Any comment regarding the striker's desire to leave could cause issues for successor David Moyes, with the Mirror's David McDonnell reporting that Moyes' Tuesday pre-Champions League press conference has been brought forward to avoid questioning on topics in the soon-to-be-released book.
There is no doubt the book could make life very awkward for Moyes if Ferguson has chosen to speak out on Rooney or any other players who remain involved in the United setup.
Given Ferguson's place of power within the English game for over a quarter of a century, the list of people who will be wondering quite what opinion he has of them will be endless. And with no further requirement to be in any way diplomatic, the book's unveiling at 1 p.m. BST is expected to herald a day of controversy.
Over the next few weeks, Bleacher Report will keep you up to date with the latest extracts released from the book as well as all the reaction, once the formalities of the launch are completed.
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