4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
[ Review of the original version ]
I was looking forward to this as although I'm not a United fan (Millwall, for my sins) I enjoy football and cannot help but admire the man who dragged United out of the doldrums to domestic and European success and for so long. However when asked my opinion of this book, my response has invariably been "not great". The early chapters were more of a "This is Your Life" thankyou to people I've never heard of and not an account of his early life as is the norm for an autobiography. I was particularly looking forward to hearing of his childhood in Govan, his playing days and how he went from pub landlord to football manager but the details were scarce as if it was assumed you already knew them. A friend later told me a lot of this was in his other autobiography so had this been marketed as part 2 then this would have been understandable but it left me feeling short changed and slightly resentful.
As for the rest of the book, it had it's moments but was very disjointed and bounced from subject to subject and player to player quite randomly. What I did note as strange was how certain players had a chapter each titled as their surname...all apart from the pretty uninteresting Rio. Keane obviously got his own and the knives got stuck in although not too deeply but where was Cantona ? The Rock of Gibraltar scenario was glossed over in a paragraph and a chapter dedicated to Mourinho was very weak with the Portugese only getting a few mentions before Ferguson started talking about himself again. Praise was given out grudgingly as Sir Alex proved himself to be the master of the backhanded compliment and nothing was said (in this edition at least) about the process of choosing his fateful successor.
Overall, not a great read unfortunately. It really needs tearing up and starting again - by somebody else.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2013
"Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography" is an interesting confession of a man who marked English and world football for the last 30 years he spent as manager of Manchester United football team.
His book can be recommended to all fans of football, regardless of which club you are a fan because it provides a lot of information about the famous players that have marked the past years in one of the most popular sports in the world.
This is his second autobiography book, or continuation of previous one in which he focused on his career at Manchester United, though he's not only telling the story about his football manager career but also about his youth, his family and friends, even about him being an owner of a pub what is not so well known fact about him.
Media criticized this release due to alleged Ferguson's criticism to all and any that actually isn't true, although there are some places where Ferguson doesn't speak in superlatives about some players with whom he worked.
But when you read the book in its entirety you'll see that more often he speaks nicely about rival players, teams, even his colleague managers.
Therefore, this book can be recommended to all those who are interested to learn some truths (few of them spicy) about football matters from a man who was a top expert in his profession what kept him so long on the bench of one of the best football clubs in the world.
The reason why Ferguson still being alive already became the legend of world football.
118 of 135 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2013
I would have read this book in my own time, but the hyperbole and screaming headlines in the press, and reactions from those allegedly disrespected, prompted me to buy and read it quickly. After all, the single star reviews on Amazon were prolific and, if accurate, showed two surprising facts: 1) Sir Alex had betrayed the club; 2) there had been a sudden increase in the literary critique ability of the fans of other clubs. So I read it in three days - I had to as I could not put it down.
Sir Alex always maintained this was a book for the fans; fans who had remained steadfast with United and were owed an explanation of the gaps remaining in the journey of the last 26 years. And I found this was so. It is written in such a way as to be conversational, not great literary prose, but solid, honest words which every United fan would understand. He deals with his own errors of judgement and his drive to maintain a high standard, recognising early on that no man was greater than the club.
This is a book of Sir Alex's personal view of his time in charge and he lays everything out for a reader to digest. His dealings with Keane, Beckham, van Nistlerooy and his comments about Gerrard, Chelsea, Liverpool and all the rest from the headlines were not as reported. Even Wayne Rooney would find more praise than he may deserve - though he remains on the brink of becoming one of The Manchester United Greats, should he chose to [I hope he does]. I found the comments full, sound and robust, but not unfair. This is not a book about training methods and the technicalities of the game, though there are enough references as to tactics of particular games, or years, but a filling in of the gaps left unanswered from the last couple of decades.
If you are a Manchester United fan read it as a personal gift of information to you. If you are not, but love football, this will give you an insight to how the Premiership works, and how managers and players react to the demands. If you are not a fan, at least read the book with an open mind before dishing out a single star.
There is no ending to this book; just an open road to a new era by a man Fergie trusted to succeed him, and beyond.The updated version is equally pragmatic and answers the outstanding questions remaining over the demise of David Moyes and the next big step of the van Gaal era with the new group of stars. Sir Alex has earned his place as the greatest manager through hard work and a resilience seldom seen. I have to give this book five stars as it gave me a great deal of pleasure. And, yes, I am a United fan (since 1967).
on 1 May 2015
The only time I've been to a game at Old Trafford was in 1976. The supporters were not happy because the team was not doing very well. They were understandably irate because, "this is the greatest club in the world and we expect success". That is precisely the view of Sir Alex Ferguson. And with his record of achievement it is difficult not to admire him. So I treated myself to this acclaimed book. It's (ghost) written in a relaxed, informal style, with no foul language and little football-speak. He handles the technical side of management, and of the game, in a clear, understandable way. It is perhaps a little anodyne. He states that as a manager he was not in the business of openly criticising his players (though he was a strict disciplinarian) and he continues with this approach. His reservations about Mark Bosnich are unlikely to be challenged and the Van Nistelrooy saga is well known. And when it comes to Roy Keane, Sir Alex had little option but to outline the difficulties. (I have now bought Mr Keane's book The Second Half and am looking forward to reading it).
There are some interesting insights. Whilst the media and many in the football world are keen to encourage more home grown talent, Sir Alex argues for more freedom for top clubs to get work permits for non-EU players. And on another issue, I was interested that the Manchester United management takes a very dim view of players diving.
Off the pitch I don't think I'd realised what an interesting man he is. I'm thinking of his political views and contacts with politicians; his reading; his interests in wine and racing; and an admirably settled family life.
Incidentally the end of the book, I think the final twenty per cent, is full of statistics. That's the sort of thing I enjoy browsing, but that is not easy in the Kindle format.
All in all, this is a portrait of an admirable man. He is not without flaws (eg his disciplinary record), but he has a has achieved more than virtually anyone else in football; he is cultured and well read; a family man; and well able to hold his own at Harvard. Most impressive.
on 2 May 2014
I didn't find this a riveting read. It has merit in that we get a retrospective
account of Sir Alex's view on players, games and how he manages people.
He would like us to believe that he is a canny judge of character, is an avid
reader and enjoys to chew the fat on a variety of topics. The narrative speaks
about a close knit family, an affection for players that tow the line and a mix
of criticisms of players and himself.
One has to admire Sir Alex's frank approach, yet his reference to players as
boys or lads is clearly patronising. He lets the reader know that part of his
success lies in management by fear and discipline. His main weapon being
punishment. That of removing the right to play being the primary weapon.
Throughout the book, one has to remember that the writer is providing the
reader with Sir Alex's take on proceedings. While it tells us about the man, this
obviously doesn't help with objectivity. Wise words from a successful and sage
manager do not permeate. We read his candid views, as is. Take it or leave it,
with a pinch of salt. Consequently, criticisms from people he has a go at, are
inevitable from the sensitive.
I never gained the impression from the book that Sir Alex was anything but
a sombre, melancholic man, focused on his will to win. He chose his team
of followers to manage the coaching, scouting and information flow and
between them they plotted and planned the downfall of competitors and the
recycling of players to improve the chances winning. Authority, respect,
compliance and loyalty is absolute in the Ferguson factory.
There are criticisms of Beckham (celebrity seeker) Keane (anger management)
Rooney (slow learner & loss of fitness fast) to name a few. Counter to this, Ronaldo,
Giggs and the likes of Scholes can do no wrong. Overall, the criticisms throughout
the book seem rather sanitised. I think this is because it was Sir Alex's job not to
know and like people, but to identify their strengths and weaknesses and leverage
off that. This then makes a series of superficial takes on his sizeable number of
relationships with household heroes.
There are references attempting to make Sir Alex appear to be a man of the people.
His wife is the decision-maker at home, he is proud of all of his son's achievements
(but wasn't around much to raise them) and he does have moments of self deprecation
which seem honest enough.
That all said, I don't feel after reading the book, that I know Sir Alex any better than
before I read it. I think he attempted to reveal more of himself, but the soul, the spirit
and the drive of the man - and his emotional intelligence are left wanting in the readers
We are not told about how he built the club around the Class of '92, his views on
succession planning, his relationships with captains, who did his bidding, thinking
and research. Little is said about the Glazers, the business model as it affects the
strategic thinking, the players lifestyle management or travelling repeatedly with
players or his relationships with fans.
My view is that the chapter topics are rather dumbed down and lacks fresh
creativity. I found the book rather safe, facile and not particularly revealing,
considering the vantage point and experience the subject has. It is a book that
promised much, but in actual fact delivered little more then what is in the public
domain already. My sympathies are for those readers that are well versed in
Manchester United culture - who may have been able to contribute quite a few
more interesting anecdotes themselves.
I think the book, sadly....is OK, nothing more.
I'm not a football fan, but as a person who likes to read biographies of interesting people I thought I'd give this a go.
I grew up in a Manchester United supporting house, my dad a huge fan, but personally I never saw the appeal of the game. Living in Salford and later Trafford, Old Trafford was always a local landmark, and Alex Ferguson rarely out of the news, so when his first autobiography "Managing My Life: The Autobiography" was released I read and enjoyed it, although by the end I still wasn't a fan of the sport. Since then, Ferguson pushed the team to more triumphs before retiring, and I was interested in reading the closing part of the story.
It's an interesting read, each chapter focusing on a particular subject, be it a player, a season, or some aspect of Ferguson's life such as his family or outside interests, and an easy read too, the chapters mainly short, but the structure is also its downfall. It's obviously ghostwritten, and clearly based on interviews or conversations - you can imagine the author switching on a tape machine and saying "tell me about Rooney," then typing the words up later as a ready-made chapter - but it's not very cohesive, lacks the continuity of a "straight" autobiography ("Managing My Life" for example) and the final chapter doesn't seem to bring the book to a close, instead appearing to just stop without any kind of conclusion or epilogue, looking to the future perhaps.
If you've read "Managing My Life" and want to read about what happened next, or at least Ferguson's view of events, this is a decent book, but if you want to read about the man, his life and his career you'd be better with the earlier book. As enjoyable as this is, it isn't an authoritative account of his life.
on 7 December 2013
It is hard not to read the conversational prose in SAF's own voice; it's an easy read and all the more enjoyable for that. He explains the background and reasoning to many of his decisions and situations in recent years and as a fan this is interesting and insightful. It helps to clarify what in his view went right, what went wrong and why and that rounds off the picture now that the facts as he recounts them are out there. His views of players, managers and his support network in the football business are interesting, but they may jar a little with supporters who don't share his confidence in some of the preferred players. This is a pleasurable read especially as a fan of both SAF and MUFC, although the content is bound together loosely in chapters that seem a bit disjointed, but this doesn't detract from the enjoyment.
SAF doesn't appear to have left out any of the more recent situations so as a reader it gives a feeling of completion and closure. Because of such frank explanations though, he will have trodden on a few corns and of course the press sensationalised these. In the context of the book though, they are less dramatic and appear to be fair; no-one comes out of it really badly once you realise that any negative comments (Gerrard for example) are his opinion and unsupported by facts. Not all opinions in the book will suit readers, but these are his entitled views. However, as others have suggested, there is an uncomfortable hint that his candid comments may be compromising confidentialities, but perhaps the topics that needed to be covered were never going to avoid this.
The pleasure in this book is definitely enhanced if readers are supporters and knowledgeable about MUFC history and day-to-day news. Not everything is explained fully and without the background something is lost.
At the end of it all, you have to admire a manager in such a capricious business and applaud his successes and longevity. May his successor enjoy the same.
on 20 November 2013
It is fair to start this review by saying I am a huge Manchester United fan so for me this book has a special feel. The book shows a unique sense of humour to Sir Alex Ferguson which was never very evident in his time on TV during interviews and matches.
This book has been well quoted in the media. I have to say after reading it the quotes of course are accurate but highly taken out of context. The well quoted opinions on Beckham and Rooney although accurate are largely taken out of context. What is missing from these quotes are the other highly supportive and complimentary opinions which Sir Alex includes. Of course positives don't sell as many papers and in all honestly may not have sold so many copies of the book itself.
The book details certain players and events in Sir Alex's managerial career. Although not chronological this is a fascinating insight to one of the most successful mangers ever. Mixed within the fact and opinions about Manchester United are antidotes and facts that will keep any football fan interested irregardless of which team you support.
This book took me longer to read than normal mainly because of the wealth of information that has to be digested. There were moments when I found myself realising that Sir Alex was talking about a match I had actually seen. As well as events you expect to be covered such as The Class of 92 and The David Beckham Boot Incident there are also other smaller events that are just as entertaining and were never reported in the media.
This is an amazing insight into one of the most successful football clubs and one of the most successful managers ever. For anyone who is interested in management, football or the man himself, this is a must read.
on 27 November 2013
This book provides an interesting insight into Sir Alex Ferguson's personality and mind set. He reveals elements of his character that led him to make some of the decisions that shaped the modern era of football and specifically, the Premier League.
For those more interested in his upbringing on his earlier years (whilst there remains elements of this present in this book), they may be better directed towards an earlier of Sir Alex's books which focuses more on his younger life. This version provides a reflective and at times spikey appraisal of his rivalries, decisions and personal of the past 20-30 years.
For those who claim this book is slander, insulting to those who helped create the legend of Ferguson (Roy Keane, for example) then they are missing the point. Ferguson often points to Keane's greatness on the field, yet fiercely disagrees with him on other aspects of his claims. It's not a linear train of thought, stating 'oh he was great' and 'he was bad'. Ferguson delves deeply into his relationship with players and often tells it how it is.
Much like his temperament on the touchline it is often fierce, boisterous, fiery and direct, yet he gives credit where credit is due.
I found it to be a thoroughly interesting read and was glad when it became apparent it was not a PR 'fence-sitter', rather, a true reflection of the greatest manager of the modern era.
This is billed as a companion volume to Fergie's pervious autobiography. And it is expensive at a £25 cover price for what it is.
It's okay, it does let you glimpse into the mind of Britain's best ever football manager and you don't get to be that without a strong willed ruthlessness. His retirement allows him to be more open than before, but as a United Director you sense he is holding back on some stuff. But having said that, he is positive about the Glazers and many of the comments he makes about certain players come over as pretty accurate, I loved Keane as a player, but the assessment of SAF here sounds spot on.. Likewise his views on the likes of Beckham.
The trouble is, most of the interesting statements were published in the press so any potential "wow" moments have been somewhat spoilt.
He shows a lot of self-belief (some will call it arrogance) but you don't stay at the top without that self-belief, arrogance and the need to see the bigger picture all the time. So we do see much of that in the book, along with a man who values loyalty and passion for football. The one thing he stays well clear of is the Rock of Gibraltar saga, this is mentioned and dismissed pretty quickly, but he does admit mistakes and tactical errors in various other areas.
So this is an okay insight into a great football personality, but probably worth waiting for the paperback.