Alex Ferguson autobiography: when is it out, what will it say?
The former Manchester United manager's long-awaited memoir will be unveiled today - and it should be explosive
IT IS the sports publishing event of the year. Four months after his retirement, football fans will this week be given an insight into the final years of Alex Ferguson's regime at Manchester United.
The irascible Scot stepped down after 27 years in charge at the end of last season, and has spent the summer penning an autobiography.
When does the book come out? Ferguson's second memoir, with the rather bland and somewhat misleading title My Autobiography, hits the shelves on Thursday and is one of the most eagerly awaited football books for years. It has been written with the help of Daily Telegraph football correspondent Paul Hayward and although it focuses on the last 13 years of his Manchester United career it could be explosive. "The former Laird of Old Trafford's score-settling is expected to be given full rein in the book," says Martin Lipton in the Daily Mirror.
Why is the press conference today, and what will we learn? The book does not come out until Thursday, and Sports Mole claims that the original plan was to hold the media conference a day beforehand. But the christening of Prince George, which takes place tomorrow, forced the event back a day. The change of plan means that although readers will not get their hands on the book for another two days, the contents will be revealed today.
What are the main talking points?
The last 13 years of Ferguson's Old trafford reign were anything but dull. Hayward hinted at plenty of revelations in the Daily Telegraph this weekend: "He recalls the great players he has managed, with emphasis on the second half of his United reign, from Roy Keane to David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, and shares his thoughts on Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez and other managerial adversaries."
Here are some of the topics he is expected to address:
The David Beckham affair: In 2003 Beckham was cut above the eye by a boot kicked across the dressing room by Ferguson. The incident has never been "fully resolved" says Henry Winter in the Telegraph.
Arsenal, and pizzagate: In 2004 Arsenal's record unbeaten run came to an end at Old Trafford and there was an ugly fracas in the tunnel afterwards in which Fergie was showered with pizza. The details of that incident could now emerge. "We all fear the worst," said Arsenal manager Wenger when asked about the book. But he added that he thought the memoir was "a good idea".
Roy Keane: There are hopes that the contents of a 2005 interview pulled from the MUTV schedules because of comments by Keane about other players will be revealed. The player abruptly left the club soon afterwards. "Keane is a complicated character, and was a majestic midfielder, so Ferguson's appraisal of the spiky Irishman will be a must-read section," says Winter.
The Glazer takeover: The club's owners, the Glazer family are deeply unpopular with the United fans, but BBC Sports editor David Bond points out that Ferguson never took sides in the battle that erupted after their 2005 takeover, which happened after Fergie fell out with other shareholders. He told the Radio 4’s Today programme that it would be intriguing to find out his views on the club's ownership structure, particularly as he has socialist beliefs.
Liverpool: Ferguson's animus towards former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is well documented. "That is just one of a number of reasons to anticipate the book getting a frosty reception at Liverpool," notes The Independent. "The fall-out from the racism row that ended with Luis Suarez getting an eight-match ban for abusing Patrice Evra should be covered, and that will not reflect well on Kenny Dalglish, with whom Ferguson had previous history anyway."
His retirement: The Mirror claims the book will reveal that Fergie was set to quit in 2012, before Sergio Aguero won the title for Man City. "And with David Moyes struggling to cope with the burden of replacing the greatest manager British football has known, Ferguson is also likely to answer the great question about his Manchester United exit: Why did he settle on Moyes as his hand-picked successor at the champions, ignoring the claims of Jose Mourinho?"
And finally? "Ferguson's opinions on [Wayne] Rooney could fill a headline or two," notes Winter.