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Football - Bloody Hell!: The Biography of Alex Ferguson Hardcover – 14 Oct 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey (14 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224083058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224083058
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 351,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Barclay has written a wonderful book. Football -- Bloody Hell! captures the contradictions and battery-acid sourness of this complex personality just as eloquently as it elucidates his genius." (Irish Independent)

"Firm but fair. A book in which thoroughness of research, richness of detail and proper celebration of achievement are never allowed to occlude the author's unsentimental view of his compatriot." (Richard Williams Guardian)

"Book of the Week" (Guardian)

Book Description

Britain's most respected sportswriter takes on the greatest football manager of all time

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Harrison on 23 Feb. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I'm a huge fan of both Manchester United and Alex Ferguson; and also an admirer of the writing of Patrick Barclay. So I fell on this book hungry for insight and information, and confident of a rollicking good read.

But I had forgotten The Curse of The Football Book. The Curse is a simple one: if the writer stares at the mesmeric rhythm of the football season, and it's regular beat of matches home and away, ventures to Europe, and the road to Wembley, he will be blighted by the Curse and lose all sense of literary narrative. He will instead plod from one season to the next in a predictable tumble of football trivia, and trample all over whatever true story might have existed.

And sure enough Barclay has been stricken. This book is like a word association game, in which every attempt at a story is constantly interrupted by the need to report each fixture, its result, and the players involved. To give but one of dozens of examples, Barclay threatens to provide some insight into the whole Rock of Gibralter racehorse affair, but then, mid sentence, up pops a 5th round League Cup game, which had a winner from Forlan, who is Argentinian, like Veron, and speaking of Cups, United lost to Arsenal, in the FA Cup, oh and Ferguson was so cross he kicked a boot at Beckham. And all that in the space of less than a page.

If one knows nothing of Ferguson, then despite the Curse, one will find a solid primer here. But it reads more like a text book than a piece of genuine research: Barclay openly and admiringly quotes from other biographies, and, despite the considerable time he has spent in Ferguson's company offers precious little that is new.

To his credit however, the one spell Barclay hasn't fallen under is Ferguson's.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GermanGeoff on 19 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Football - Bloody hell! The Biography of Alex Ferguson, 2010, Patrick Barclay. A curiously lightweight and slightly flat account of the authors experiences with Fergie and other familiar charachters (former players and colleagues), even of limited use as a work of reference. While it follows the timeline from his playing experiences at Rangers to last season (2009-10) it skips about trying to capture the dominant forces that have shaped the man and concludes it was all family and loyalty. Very little was new (though I have a read a lot about the man recently so I am perhaps not the best judge). Some interesting stuff around attitudes to corporate buy outs and ties to New Labour. No doubt a new version will emerge once he retires.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Non Sequiter on 4 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrible book from start to finish. Why is it so bad ? It contains many spelling mistakes, many inaccuracies and huge inconsistencies. Mostly the language is tabloid speak and full of the most awful cliche and turn of pharase 'Ferguson has been casting his net wide in the transfer market', 'David Elleray, a leading whistler...' It was an exercise in restraint not to throw it out the window at every page turn. I can pick hundreds of mistakes throughout the book that annoyed me, irked me and generally made me feel that I was reading the latest Kerry Katona opus. For instance, Page 344 of the hardback edition (yes, I wasted that amount of money on this) cites that 'In 2008 he [Ferguson] was to use the fifth anniversary of the Munich disaster to motivate his players'.
However, the biggest sin that Barclay commits is not that he didn't bother to employ a proofreader or that he failed to double check simple facts on when players were bought or sold but that he created a book based upon an amalgamation of the various autobiographies on his bookshelf. There seems to be no new work done here at all and newspaper articles and players quotes are printed verbatim within insight or criticism. Honestly, avoid this lazy, tabloid rubbish at all costs, it really is only for the Manchester United supporter who didn't know Alex Ferguson was also once the manager of Aberdeen and honestly thinks 2008 was the fifth anniversary of the Munich disaster. Mr Barclay you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aaron_G on 10 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover
It isn't the easiest of books to read. The chronology on the face of it is straight forward but in truth the author jumps around, leaping on an anecdote whenever it takes his fancy. This often leads to stories and relevant moments in Ferguson's career being repeated - some times ad nauseum. I'm reserving call this a 'hatchet job', because it isn't. However it is clear that while the motives and reasoning behind much of what Ferguson did is questioned and speculated to the nth degree, the motivation and reasoning behind many of those who have gone up against him over the years is not questioned.

Negative aspects and insinuations are dwelled upon although, probably for legal reasons, never is a single defensible accusation ever really made. Such as making sure Ferguson's name is tied closely. Such as the insinuation that Rune Hauge and Manchester United had a relationship that suspicion could be raised about. He also implies George Graham was simply unfortunate during his dealings with Hauge to have been cause, implying in a way in which the context of the project could leave little doubt about.

It's saving grace is its subject . One of the most interesting, colourful and controversial men in football. However this book does seek to exploit the latter attribute perhaps a tad more than would make it readable.
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