Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN : Hardback : 978 0 340 91939 2
E Book : 978 1 848 94863 1
It is without doubt the football book of 2013.
It is indeed one of the best football books of all time.
In terms of global sales it is already blockbuster – but unlike so many autobiographies this one has sold not just because of the big name, it is has sold so well because it is underpinned by big content too.
Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography is not just a gripping read; it is a must read.
On the day of its publication it caused a furore in the Salman Rushdie league.
Sensational headline followed sensational headline as the juicy paragraphs slamming Beckham, Keane, Liverpool, The FA et al were ripped from the pages.
But in most cases the context was lost.
There are many football books which after they have been plundered by the press aren’t worth buying because essentially you’ve read it all. This is not this case with Fergie’s book which has been impressively ghosted by Daily Telegraph sports writer Paul Hayward.
Paul does not confuse matters by trying to add too much flowery prose or gild the lilly. When you read this book it’s as if you are sat by the fireside of a grand drawing room in a winged leather chair facing Fergie similarly sat, sharing a glass of fine red wine or single malt whiskey and listening to the Big Man tell it as it is. And you don’t want to leave.
Although it is an autobiography, Fergie’s early years are skated over, since that part of his life are covered in a previous tome “Managing my Life” which reached it’s climax when Manchester United won the Champions League in 1999.
That said, I would still have liked to have read a bit more about Eric Cantona and Bryan Robson.
Nevertheless the book takes the reader on a fascinating journey from the turn of the Millennium to Ferguson’s retirement in May with Manchester United crowned Champions again.
The chapters on David Beckham, Roy Keane and Cristiano Ronaldo are utterly compelling.
Although he tears Beckham apart for “selling out to celebrity” it is not just the character assassination as was depicted when the newspapers first got hold of the book.
The same goes with Keane. There is context – although ultimately his appraisal of the Irishman is damning.
In contrast Ronaldo is lavished with praise.
There are also many rich anecdotal asides. For instance Ferguson points out Ryan Giggs only won five penalties in a 20 year career because the player refused to go down. Perhaps Giggs ought to take a firmer hand now he is a coach at the club…
But it is far more than just a book about Fergie’s unparalleled success at Manchester United. It is a book that gets to the heart and soul of football and how much it has changed since he started out as a young manager at St. Mirren in the Seventies.
It is a must read for every football supporter who wants to see the bigger picture …even those other Reds, Liverpool fans.
BB Rating: 10/10
By Rob Shepherd.