Alex Ferguson’s autobiography raises some eyebrows
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
Alex Ferguson is a man who needs little introduction. The now retired Scotsman will forever be remembered as one of the finest managers the game has ever seen. With 38 trophies over his 26 years with Manchester United alone, even City fans have to admit a begrudging respect for him. Ferguson’s recently released autobiography, however, may slightly taint the image many have painted of him.
It’s always interesting to read these books when they come out. It’s typically a person’s last desperate grasp at fame. I’ve always viewed Ferguson as someone above pithy attacks. Someone who wouldn’t stoop to the common level of exchanging barbs. With a track record like his, why would it be necessary? Apparently I thought wrong.
Ferguson openly criticizes key figures in his originally named Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography, among them David Beckham and Owen Hargreaves.
Of Beckham, he said, “David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson. There is no doubt in my mind,” along with, “The big problem for me is that he married Victoria.” Other criticisms of Beckham included his love of a celebrity lifestyle and essentially putting the game second.
As for Hargreaves, Sir Alex remarked, “When I signed him there was something about him I didn’t like. It turned out to be a disaster.” He also spoke of how he questioned the former Bayern Munich man’s work ethic, and his desire to sue Hargreaves after he spoke out about the club’s medical treatments for him.
Ever the classy one, Beckham responded with, “I’m not going to sit here and be negative about a man who gave me a chance to play for my boyhood team, who I always dreamt of playing for. He gave me the chance to do that, he believed in me and believed in the rest of the young lads who came through this with us.”
As for the famous boot incident, the free kick specialist cheekily revisited his initial comment with an, “Apparently they [dressing room tales] do [come out].”
Hargreaves was a little more direct, commenting, “For it [our relationship] to deteriorate like that was very disappointing and I think it’s a conversation he and I need to have personally.”
And he raises a valid, if idealistic, point: why go public when you can settle things behind closed doors? Why try and mar someone’s reputation? The answer—as it often is—is money.
I get it. I really do. And everyone probably does. The point of writing a book is to make money. The way to make money is to get people’s attention. The easy way to get in the spotlight is to strike up controversy or bring up old rows. Ferguson has done both of these and his book is selling faster than umbrellas in a downpour.
Is Ferguson still one of the greatest managers the world has ever seen? Of course. Has my opinion of him dipped? No doubt. Glory glory Man United? Sir Alex would have done well to think less of his pocketbook on this one.