By looking at the number of recent money spinning autobiographies being published you could be forgiven for thinking that those in and around the game have fallen on hard times. Former Manchester United boss and Premier League legend Sir Alex Ferguson has been the most recent in a long line of players and manager’s to reveal their darkest tales.
So what are the implications of this new work of literary genius?
Ferguson and those that wrote the book haven’t held back, stinging attacks on players and other managers have had the intended effect of boosting interest in the piece, if they actually ever needed to.
Sir Alex left the game as a revered and respected manager whose influence transcends much of the modern footballing world. I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to share their story or even make a bit of extra money to aid the retirement kitty, but for me all this autobiography has done is cast a shadow over Ferguson and indeed the club that he holds so dearly.
The swipes and digs that occur so regularly are suggestive of a bitter old-man trying to take one last parting shot before disappearing off into the background, particularly sad for someone that we all hold in such high esteem.
Whatever you think the impact of the book will have on Ferguson’s reputation, you cannot deny the publication will do his former club United even less favours. Just as David Moyes is trying his best to steer the club away from obscurity and finally carve out his own dynasty, the former custodian of Old Trafford returns to steal all the attention and perhaps even shift the spotlight even more intensively onto the Red Devils.
Whilst Ferguson critiques many who no longer play at United, his scathing attacks on a fraught relationship with Wayne Rooney cannot do anything but harm the Englishman’s return to prominence. The Telegraph summed up the escalation of the conflict well in a recent piece on Ferguson’s book:
“Ferguson increasingly questioned Rooney’s conditioning, and criticised England’s decision to allow Rooney to go to Las Vegas for a break before euro 2012 (Rooney was suspended for the first two games).”
“Last season, United’s then manager worried particularly in the game against Aston Villa at Old Trafford. While praising Rooney’s sublime pass for Robin van Persie’s second goal, Ferguson perceived a lack of fitness was showing, and that Villa players were running past him.”
“Rooney was maddened by Ferguson’s decision to play him out of position at times, in midfield, or out wide, or worse starting him on the bench as against Real Madrid last season at Old Trafford. Ferguson confirms that Rooney came into his office the day after United won the League and “asked away.”
As factually correct as this tale may be, it hardly helps someone like Rooney win over many of his critics at United does it? Rooney is still one of the few United players of genuine world-class ability and Ferguson’s comments just continue to add instability to Rooney’s already fractured relationship with the club.
The publication of the book also couldn’t have come at a worse time for United, why not wait until the summer when there isn’t this conflict of interest between Ferguson and the club? The reality is of course book sales, but you would have hoped that Ferguson would still have had some consideration for the fate of his old club.
I thought Roy Keane was exactly right when responding to some of Ferguson’s cruel digs, he said that Sir Alex “doesn’t know the meaning of loyalty”. A long line of players that have given so much to make both the manager and club so successful, in my opinion Ferguson owes them a little more. If it wasn’t for the some of the individuals he castigates he may not have been in a position to write about his glamorous managerial career.
Maybe it is just where we are in the modern era, I think I along with so many others would have expected more from Ferguson on this one than to callously try to eek out a few more book sales.
I am all for the truth and honesty, but for someone who cares so much about the reputation of his club and indeed himself I cannot help but feel Ferguson has scored an own goal with this one.
Has Fergie damaged his reputation?
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