Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography
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The celebratory, revealing, inspiring, and entertaining autobiography of the greatest manager in the history of British soccer Over the past four years, Alex Ferguson has been reflecting on and jotting down the highlights of his extraordinary career, and here he reveals his amazing story as it unfolded, from his very early days in the tough shipyard areas of Govan. Sir Alex announced his retirement as manager of Manchester United after 27 years in the role. He has gone out in a blaze of glory, with United winning the Premier League for the 13th time, and he is widely considered to be the greatest manager in the history of British soccer. Over the last quarter of a century there have been seismic changes at Manchester United, with the only constant element the quality of the manager's league-winning squad and United's run of success, which includes winning the Champions League for a second time in 2008. Sir Alex created a purposeful, but welcoming, and much envied culture at the club, which has lasted the test of time. He discusses managing these enormous changes and the growth of Man U as a global sports power. He shares the farewells to Roy Keane and David Beckham, describes the process of building a new Champions League side around Ronaldo and Rooney, and ruminates upon the great rivalries with Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and City. He also shares his thoughts on the psychology of management and his passions and interests outside of the game.
say on television: ‘You can’t win anything with kids.’ After that hat-trick of League titles we made an error in letting Jaap Stam go. I thought £16.5 million was a good price and I believed he had slipped back in his game since his Achilles operation. But it was a mistake on my part. This is my chance to nail once and for all the myth that his contentious autobiography had anything to do with my decision to sell him, even though I called him in about the book right away. It accused us of
of seeing a team grow old together. We refocused on that. With Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Teddy Sheringham, there was either a falling off in performance levels or an advance in years. In those circumstances, the demands on the scouting network intensify. The heat is on the talent-spotters. You are saying to them all the time, ‘Come on, what have you seen out there?’ The Kléberson signing came after he had excelled for Brazil at the 2002 World Cup. He was still playing in his homeland when we
over years, and studied players, compiled detailed information. We knew all about Cristiano Ronaldo before we signed him. We tried to get Rooney at 14, and tried again at 16. Finally we cracked it when he was 17. You could plan for Rooney. He was an obvious target for us. That was Manchester United’s scouting at its very best. The Veróns and the Klébersons were improvised. Not panic buys, but rushed. Djemba-Djemba, another smashing lad, was hammered by the press for not being a signature
years there was no consistent or sustained challenge for the championship. The same was true of Liverpool in the years when United were on top from 1993 onwards, but I could always feel their breath on my neck from 25 miles away. When a club of Liverpool’s history and tradition pull off a treble of cup wins, as they did in 2001, with the FA, League and UEFA trophies under Gérard Houllier, you are bound to feel a tremor of dread. My thought that year was: ‘Oh, no, not them. Anybody but them.’
deliver the hurt in the final third of the pitch. Mame Biram Diouf was recommended by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer through his contacts at Molde in Norway. Hannover 96 and Eintracht Frankfurt were starting to sniff around him when we stepped up our interest. So we sent Ole and a club official over and acquired him for 4 million euros. Again, the background was right, though he never established himself with us. Chris Smalling was bought from Fulham in January 2010 with the idea that he would join us