Long overdue, Frank O Farrell finally gives us his account of the tumultuous period he spent in charge of a fading Manchester United. Although this takes up only a small part, it is patently the most anticipated section of the book, and it pulls no punches. O Farrell, a deeply religious, spiritual and principled man, left Leicester City in 1971 at the behest of Sir Matt Busby himself, and began to have regrets soon after. As a United devotee, i found his opinions on Busby, Louis Edwards and the rest of the Manchester United board pungent and forthright, he clearly feels he was never given a fair crack of the whip, and Busby's omnipresence hovers over him, an immovable bulwark, and a reminder to United now that the long shadow cast by a great ex-manager will need to be removed when Fergie's successor eventually takes over.
Ironically, his spell in charge included the last hurrah of the 1968 European Cup winning side, and during the 71-72 season Man Utd topped the First Division until just before New Year. George Best played some of his greatest football, even Law and Charlton appeared revived, but the episode was short lived and United's annus horribilis - 1972, brought humiliation and dismissal. Without giving too much away, the club treated the genial Irishman disgracefully, and his bitterness remains, despite the success he went on to enjoy following the United job. Tirade of a decent man indeed, and uncomfortable but essential reading for all those fans who wondered how Man United could go in 6 years from the status of European Champions, all the way down to the English Second Division.