“I’m not here to publicise Alex Ferguson’s book,” was Brendan Rodgers’ response to journalists when the first two questions of his pre-match press conference this week were about the former Manchester United manager’s publication.
For Ferguson’s sake, I hope a lot of what is said in the 71-year-old’s autobiography was down to a revenue-hungry publishing house rather than the inane ramblings of a confused old man.
Either Ferguson, or his editor, chose to dedicate a whole chapter in the book on Liverpool Football Club—the opposition that Ferguson spent a career obsessed with in the bitterest of ways.
He even had a dig at former Reds boss Rafa Benitez, describing his football as "dull" and writing that his 2005 Liverpool side were lucky to win the Champions League.
On Wednesday night, unquestioned, Brendan Rodgers addressed a room full of guests at Anfield for the opening of the club’s new museum and responded to claims in Ferguson's book that he was eight players away from winning the league.
The players are giving everything. Considering we supposedly need eight players to win the league, I think we’re doing alright.
After all, the Reds are some six points ahead of United as the league currently stands, having beaten them convincingly last month.
Rodgers followed this up the next day when he was bombarded with questions about Ferguson’s comments regarding the club, his appointment, Kenny Dalglish and other Liverpool players.
Collected as ever, Rodgers brushed off the nonsense as purely opinion, making only one retort—a defence of Jordan Henderson, of who Ferguson had criticised the running technique. The phrase “clutching at straws” comes to mind.
@thisisanfield Like Michael Johnson? Multiple Olympic medal winner over different distances. Revolutionizing running technique!— Kam (@Kamtzujan) October 24, 2013
Aside from his pragmatic, modern and refreshing approach to tactics on the pitch, Rodgers is, with every passing day, becoming a firmer leader of Liverpool.
Despite Ferguson’s very media-clippable quotes, many have argued his book is quite disappointing in that, constrained by still being a director at Old Trafford, it is not as revealing as it could have been. Perhaps a reason why he shifted some focus to other clubs.
Furthermore, his continued defence of the Glazers despite them landing his club into further debt is starting to come across as embarrassing and misguided.
I’d like to think Ferguson has more about him than that, but he has been landed with a sucker punch from people who want to sell his story.
By stirring controversies with bizarre damming assessments of the likes of Stewart Downing and Henderson, the publishers have succeeded in cooking up a wider media storm.
While Rodgers saw straight through that, maintaining his calm and focused management of Liverpool, it makes Ferguson look classless and quite the publishing house puppet.
What is more, his publishers look like they know how to do a good job. So here’s another article for your PR department.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.