Saturday, December 28, 2013

Book Review: Alex Ferguson - My Autobiography

If Lord Wrigley's book were one of his teams, they would be a mid-table outfit with +1 goal difference and knocked out of all the cups by the quarter finals. A bit like his early MUFC teams in fact. His autobiography is middling, not a patch on the man himself or the type of performance we came to expect from Old Trafford.  His book does him and his achievements a disservice.

Now why is a die-hard lifetime fan of the Arsenal reading the words of an avowed competitor? Ah, to beat the enemy you must know him. I expect Wenger has read Fergie's book too - but he probably got even less out of it than me.

In fairness, parts of it are very good, particularly the chapters on Keane, Beckham and the two losses to Barcelona in the Champions League Finals. The sections on the media and other managers (Wenger, The Special One etc.) are interesting and reveal the side of Fergie we want to know more about.  But not nearly enough pages devoted to his early life, his playing career (he scored a lot of goals in Scotland), his success at Aberdeen, or the first few mediocre years at Man U.

He is  too effuse in praise for Giggs, Gary Neville and Scholes. Very little about the two Champions League wins. Some good parts on the way he managed certain players, especially van Nistlerooy and Rooney... but not enough on the earlier warriors like Robson, Ince, Paul McGrath. He totally glosses over the Cantona kung fu incident and gives Rio's failed drug test too many pages. Not nearly enough info on his relationship with the Glazers. Worse is the annoying habit of claiming to have spotted every talent imaginable at the age of eight... Please.

I have nothing but admiration for what he achieved. I remember when Man U were a joke: the Tommy Doherty and Ron Atkinson years. As old Rednose wrote, they only bought players who scored against them, like Alan Brazil and Gary Birtles and won nothing of note for decades. Then starting with his first Championship win in 1992, he transformed them into a world power and took them further than Busby. But his book does not bring that forth. It was rushed and too short. With a normal size font and the last 30 pages of meaningless statistics removed, it is barely 100 pages. He only retired in May, how could his autobiography be ready by October?

I would have him training with the reserves, based on this hardly definitive effort.   A grade of "C".

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Like Fairytale of New York, "Twinkle Little Christmas Lights" will one day be a Christmas classic. Enjoy!