Ferguson savages Keane, but will pundit retaliate?
Roy Keane will get chance to respond on TV to claims in Sir Alex Ferguson’s book
ALL eyes will be on TV pundit Roy Keane during tonight's coverage of Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, thanks to the scathing attack on him in the pages of Alex Ferguson's new autobiography, details of which emerged this afternoon.
The former Manchester United captain was singled out in an explosive memoir that also contains details of run-ins with the likes of David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez.
Keane's performances on ITV have raised eyebrows in the past, and the revelation that even Ferguson found him "intimidating" could generate sympathy for his fellow pundits, particularly if the topic of the autobiography comes up during the show.
Here are some early highlights from the book:
Ferguson vs Keane The Irish midfielder "receives far more than the hairdryer treatment," says Henry Winter in the Daily Telegraph. "He gets savaged." Ferguson describes how the squad sat down together to watch the infamous interview given by Keane to MUTV, which was so critical it was never publicly broadcast. After seeing Keane attack players including Kieran Richardson, Darren Fletcher, Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar - "Roy was taking them all down" - a huge row blew up. Keane then turned on Ferguson. "It was frightening to watch. And I'm from Glasgow," says Ferguson. "The hardest part of Roy's body is his tongue. He has the most savage tongue you can imagine. He can debilitate the most confident person in the world in seconds."
Ferguson vs Keane the manager Keane began to behave like a manager in his final days at Old Trafford. "The one thing I will not allow is a loss of control, because control was my only saviour," says Ferguson. The Guardian adds: "Ferguson risks reopening old wounds and passes judgment on Keane's management career by saying he lacks patience, that he 'failed' at Sunderland and 'came up short' at Ipswich Town, even with money to spend."
Ferguson vs Beckham The infamous dressing room incident that left Beckham with a cut above his eye came after an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal. During the inquest Ferguson singled out Beckham. "David swore. I moved towards him and, as I approached, I kicked a boot. It hit him right above the eye," he writes. The pair never patched up their differences. The midfielder refused to accept he was wrong and "thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson" says the Scot. He also laments that had Beckham been less focused on his profile beyond football "he would have been one of the great Manchester United legends".
Ferguson vs Beckham's hair There are illuminating tales about Beckham's high-profile lifestyle. Before a match against Leicester Beckham arrived wearing a beanie hat and said he would not take it off. Ferguson realised Beckham was planning to unveil a new haircut during the match and when he refused to take off the hat during a pre-match meal or the warm ups he lost his temper and threatened to drop Beckham from the team, minutes before kick-off. "He went berserk", writes Ferguson.
Ferguson vs Wenger The end of Arsenal's 49-match unbeaten run at Old Trafford in 2004 "scrambled Arsene's brain" says for former United boss. There was a huge melee after the final whistle. Ferguson claims not to know which player threw pizza at him but reports that Wenger came at him with "fists clenched". He adds that the pair's relationship thawed after the 2009 Champions League semi-final, won by United, and they became "very friendly". However, he believes that Wenger still thinks that no-one should be allowed to tackle his players.
Ferguson vs Benitez According to the Telegraph, Ferguson "reserved some of his fiercest criticism for Benitez in his new autobiography, branding the Spaniard a control freak who shunned friendships with his colleagues during his time at Anfield". He also described him as a "silly man" over his infamous 'facts' rant against United in 2009, and criticised him for making their rivalry personal. "Once you made it personal, you had no chance, because I could wait. I had success on my side."
Ferguson vs Rooney
Ferguson insists that Rooney did ask to leave United last season and details the collapse of their relationship at "some length" says the Telegraph. "Ferguson praises Rooney’s achievements but does criticise the striker for not using his left foot enough, and questioning whether he was a quick learner." He also casts doubt on Rooney's fitness.
Ferguson vs Mourinho and the Chelsea wine cellar
"There is warmth from Ferguson in his chapter about Jose Mourinho and it is clear that the pair do enjoy a good relationship," says The Guardian. However, he does not broach the subject of why Mourinho was not a suitable candidate to succeed him at Old Trafford. What he does mention, though, is that he found the wine at Stamford Bridge so dreadful he mentioned it to Roman Abramovich, who sent him a case of Tignanello.
Ferguson on transfer targets
The former United boss says that neither Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard are as good as Paul Scholes, but admits trying to sign Gerrard in 2005 and Torres before he moved to Liverpool in 2007. He also regrets not moving for Michael Owen sooner in his career. Wayne Rooney also urged him to sign Arsenal midfield maestro Mesut Ozil. The former United boss singles out Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player he ever managed. ·