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Football - Bloody Hell!: The Biography of Alex Ferguson [Hardcover]

Patrick Barclay
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
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Book Description

14 Oct 2010

Sir Alex Ferguson is without doubt the most controversial and compelling figure in football today. For many he ranks as the greatest manager of all time. He is certainly the most successful. His reign at Manchester United has seen him win every major footballing honour. And then win them again.

It's been over ten years since that unforgettable night in Barcelona when Ferguson's embattled players triumphed over Bayern Munich in the dying seconds of the Champions League final. Since then Ferguson has presided over the rise and fall and rise again of José ourinho, the arrival and departure of the world's best player, Ronaldo, the removal of one English talisman - Beckham - and the irresistible instalment of another - Rooney.He has been instrumental in making the Premier League the most successful competition in football, and he has endured while the mountains of cash have turned to valleys of debt.

It is only now, as Ferguson nears the end of his career, that conclusions can be drawn about this fascinating man. From Ferguson's combative working class youth in Govan to his role in ushering in the debt-laden Glazer era, award-winning journalist Patrick Barclay has been pitch-side and spoken to all those who know Ferguson best: fellow managers, former players, colleagues and commentators. Barclay reveals Ferguson to be a relentless character whose ability to intimidate, control, cajole and encourage has driven his unparalleled success. In the pages of Football - Bloody Hell! the game's biggest living legend is finally laid bare.

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Football - Bloody Hell!: The Biography of Alex Ferguson + Cantona: The Rebel Who Would Be King
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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: 4.4 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 233,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"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

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This Book, Bloody Hell ! 4 Nov 2010
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't win a Trophy 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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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well written, but a well trod path 24 Oct 2010
Oh dear, I read the previous reviews and kind of know the unhelpful votes will pour in. But so what, I am still going to try to provide an objective view of the book and if you chose to vote unhelpful because you have issues with either Fergie or United, then vote away.

Patrick Barclay is a respected sports journalist and he writes well. This is a biography of Alex Ferguson taking us from his youth through to 2010 - published just about the time of the recent Rooney crisis which actually helps you understand the handling of Rooney. This tries to be objective and highlights Fergie's faults and mistakes while also mentioning his fantastic record and a perceptive view of the man himself and what makes him tick.

I would have gone four stars had this been the first biography of Fergie I had read, but much is a repeat (although from a different perspective) of Fergies own autobiography although updated to cover the last 8 years or so. But while the perspective was different, I wasn't learning much that was new.

The books highlights are in the latter years, Fergie's Rock of Gibralter issues, the takeover and of course that focus on what makes the man tick and be such a winner. It's weakness was the lack of freshness and a failure to focus on key elements such as his views on Victoria Beckham - they hardly get a mention yet were instrumental in his relationship with Beckham.

Recommended if you have never read a Fergie biography but if you have, you may find too much in here you already knew.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Kourosh
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a well researched book but the writer clearly does not like Sir Alex Ferguson. I usually don't write book reviews but Mr. Barkley's persistent attempts' to belittle Alex Ferguson's achievements' just got under my skin a little.
I don't think anyone would really enjoy this book, United fan or not. United fans would find it a bit insulting and none United fans would find it disappointing that someone would go through all the trouble to list Alex Fergusons' endless achievements' and then try to chip away at them with little success.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Football books - Bloomin' 'eck! 23 Feb 2011
By M. Harrison TOP 500 REVIEWER
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
the book was absolutely brilliant, a bit slow to begin with focusing on Fergy's past, but read the book in a couple of sessions when he take sup the job at St. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Haider
4.0 out of 5 stars Football Bloody Hell
A great insight into the life of Sir Alex, well told by people who know him and those who worked with him
Published 10 months ago by Robert William Browell
1.0 out of 5 stars pointless book
This is a really bad book. Patrick Barclay has few insights and most of the book reads as a chronoligocal history of Fergies achievemnets and matches at Aberdeen and Man Utd. Read more
Published 14 months ago by alex panayi
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a hatched job but...
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... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Aaron_G
4.0 out of 5 stars Reading for pleasure.
This is a good book to read as its informative without the need to be too high brow. The chapters are of a good but manageable length and Barclays writing gives you a good insight... Read more
Published 22 months ago by wildoakdicky
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
Good easy read. Enjoyed it . Bought for my holiday . Always followed Sir Alex career so another informative book.
Published 23 months ago by J. thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Hell, What a Book
Enthralling from start to finish. It manages to be concise, illuminating and thorough. I can't recommend this book highly enough
Published on 12 Dec 2011 by Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth Behind The Hair Dryer
Few journalists know the real Sir Alex Ferguson as well as Patrick Barclay; he has reported on, travelled with and interviewed his subject for well over a quarter of a century. Read more
Published on 18 Oct 2011 by Graeme Wright
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth a library rental
Patrick Barclay has always been worth listening to in soundbites on television and radio, but he really should stick to those mediums, judging by this book. Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2011 by P.T.
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessary money-making scheme from Barclay
This book was bought for me as a christmas present, I purposefully didn't buy it myself since I was under the impression it would be a hatchet job from Barclay. Read more
Published on 30 Jan 2011 by Lewis Huxley
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