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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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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).
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This is not really an autobiography. It is more of an explanation for things that have happened to him or he has done through his life and career. As a result it really does compliment his autobiography My Life of about 2009 (that is much more an autobiography than this). It makes you realise what the papers say he said about Keane or Gerrard etc in this book is not what he says at all. Read the book, not the papers! it tells stories of Ferdinand, Keane and many others and why he did what he did. it is a book that has integrity and honesty. It is also a really good read. I would suggest a must for any football fan. Worth looking out for the updated version published a year or so after his retirement. SUPERB.
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on 5 November 2015
I had been looking forward to reading this for a long time. I'm not a Man U fan, but I'm fascinated by what they (he) did and how it was done. There are many interesting facts in the book but, to put it bluntly, it is poorly written. As a few other reviewers have noted, it jumps all over the place with a strange scattergun approach to any topic that left me feeling that it was, overall, just a massive collection of anecdotes stitched together rather randomly. A man of this stature would have had his story greatly enhanced by engaging one or more professional writers. Just as he starts telling a story that sounds interesting he'll suddenly be reeling off a whole pile of facts about other players and things that just detract from the current theme, switching years and decades in and out. You think he'll go back to the theme, but no, it often seems like unfinished business, just a collection of thumbnail sketches.

On top of this, a great deal of what he writes could be written by anyone with a decent knowledge of the club. Constant references such as "we went to Wimbledon and won 3-0 but Rooney was a bit off form" are not terribly exciting. In fact, you get far better analysis in the newspapers. These mundane facts litter the book and give us no real insight at all into what really goes on behind the scenes.

Nonetheless, all the anecdotes and side-stories are interesting and I never felt like not finishing it! Just don't expect him to stay terribly close to the chapter title or to any theme for any length of time or in anything other than superficial depth.
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on 5 October 2015
Loved this book. Took it on holiday with me for something to read beside the pool and simply couldn't set it down. So much I didn't know even as a life long Manchester United fan. It really plays on the strings of your emotions this book and makes you miss the man so much more.
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on 26 February 2014
(WARNING: The review of this book may or more likely will contain spoilers!)

Do you know what's ironic, or at least has the potential to be ironic? In the opening chapter of Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography, he mentions that after an entertaining 5-5 draw with West Brom in his final league game in charge of Manchester United at the conclusion of the 2012/13 season, Ryan Giggs jokingly said in the dressing room that "David Moyes has just resigned." Well based on United's performances so far this season, that piece of supposed light humour may very well become a reality in the near future.

But while that debate rages in the football forums, I have a review to take care of...this book. It's been highly talked about since its release with some ex-United players not taking too kindly to Fergie's opinions and choice of words. As a Manchester United supporter (there, I said it!) I found it to be a highly enjoyable read; but even if I wasn't a supporter I still would've found it more than engaging enough to see it through to the end. I don't think it's quite the blow-your-eyebrows-off-of-your-face book that the media have made it out to be, but it certainly grabs your attention and gets you thinking.

While there is a bit of talk about Alex Ferguson's early life and managerial days at St.Mirren and Aberdeen, this book mainly focuses on the period between 2001/02 (the season he was supposed to retire but then changed his mind) and 2012/13 (when he did actually retire). He talks a lot about his thinking behind his transfer purchases, the United youth system, his methods of dealing of problematic players, and the in-game tactics used to ensure the Red Devils remained a competitive force both in the English Premiership and in the UEFA Champions League.

In the early chapters Ferguson talks about his no-nonsense temperate; the importance of keeping his teams focused and in line, reminding them that he was in charge and that they would be facing severe consequences if they stepped out of line. One example of this is when -during his early years of management- he fired a player for making a rude gesture in a team photo. He comes across as being a very, VERY passionate man when it comes to football (as if all that TV coverage wasn't obvious enough). In fact, in those same early chapters, he talks about having a steely determination, never giving up and always looking for a way to comeback and improve on previous results. The words are actually quite uplifting. If you're a person who's currently down on their luck and can't seem to catch a break, those are the kind of words you need to hear...the kind of words you want to hear. In spite of Ferguson's notable fiery temper though, the foul language is kept relatively light in this autobiography, unlike Harry Redknapp's offering which was pretty much profanity-laden from start to finish.

The so-called juicy bits can be found halfway through, and Ferguson doesn't mince his words for even a short line. He rates Australian goalkeeper Mark Bosnich poorly, portraying him as a greedy pig that couldn't stop eating; while Owen Hargreaves apparently disappointed him by having no confidence in his ability to overcome injuries. Even the better Manchester United players get a text book slapping. While Fergie acknowledges David Beckham to be a hard worker and a fine footballer of his generation, he does express a strong disliking towards his celebrity lifestyle, and that from his POV his focus was more on being famous than improving the United team. Having seemingly patched up their differences a few years back, you can't help but wonder if Fergie is trying to reopen old wounds with comments like that towards Beckham; and if so, why? Why bother kissing and making up when you're just planning to shoot him down again?

However the ex-United player who bears most of the criticizing brunt is the 90's midfield engine, Roy Keane. According to Alex, Roy's attitude was especially problematic during his final few months at Old Trafford with a series of petty arguments, and a general feeling that Roy was trying to take over the manager's hot seat in an underhanded manner. The chapter on Roy Keane plays out more like a well-written thriller, and every page turn builds up the excitement more and more and more until his eventual departure. Definitely a chatterbox worthy bunch of pages.

The truly unexpected stuff for me comes in Ferguson's interests outside of football. Sure he's dabbled in owning race horses for quite a while, but aside from that I couldn't help but feel that football was all he knew, that there was very little beyond the goalposts of the beautiful game. So to read that he has a strong fascination for former US President John F.Kennedy, and more precisely his assassination (with many books on the subject in his home), made me let out a sizeable "Huh?!" Mind you a few surprises are usually welcome in a book, and I suppose many of us do have an unexpected hobby or two, so it's all good.

One thing that'll surely get the football lovers talking is Ferguson's choice of words before and after matches, and in the media. Many a paper have stated that Fergie was playing mind games with his opponents (managers in particular) in order to unsettle the opposition and give his team the advantage. However Fergie insists that this has never been the case, saying that he was merely expressing his honest opinions about his opponents and that the papers (and other media) simply made it out to be mind games. Is he telling the truth? Well, I'm trying to look at it like this. This is his autobiography, his page-by-page opportunity to tell it like it is. Why would he lie about that in his own book, especially knowing that he is now in the late autumn of his life?

Overall Alex Ferguson's autobiography gets full marks from me. Its mixture of strong views and exciting action, mixed in with small amounts of surprises and even a motivational speech, all add up to make it one of the best books I've read so far. At times I even found myself reading about four chapters in one sitting, it is that good. Whether you're a diehard Manchester United fan, or an individual looking to bash them at every single opportunity, this is a book you simply HAVE to read.

Update - 26/4/2014: Well, looks like David Moyes is gone. More of a sacking than a resignation, but he is gone.
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on 29 October 2013
This book could have been a sporting classic. However, it flatters to deceive and leaves the reader feeling disappointed and a little unsure of the motive for its writing.

Instead of being an account about his best players, key transfers, key games and the decisions he made within them, it is actually a chance for Ferguson to settle old feuds, reignite others whilst inflating his own ego.

A man of his stature and success, you might hope for a candid review of everything, the bad years too, who helped him on his road to the top? Instead key players, who contributed to his success, are pretty harshly treated which leaves a bitter taste. It is almost as if he is trying to live up to his hairdryer antics in print form.

Liverpool, naturally, are in the firing line with somewhat debateable opinions on Steven Gerrard, Rafael Benitez and even the appointment of the current manager. Quite why he felt the need to add this is unknown. Mentioning current players/staff of other clubs is even more disrespectful than those of the past who were his dealings.

The book itself is actually not particularly well written and is quite a difficult read and just does not flow at all.

Ultimately, I would recommend this book second hand for a quick read as there are some interesting points, but nothing other than that.

I believe Alex Ferguson may regret having written this book in the near future. 2*
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on 29 March 2016
Bought this as a gift last year I do believe for partners Xmas gift... I'm assured it's an 'OK' book but told it's a little slow to get into... The fact that he is now a year on and still only half way through is why I give it 3 star, it must not be as engaging as I thought it would be
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on 11 June 2014
Only half way through this book (Kindle version) so can not give a full review.
However, what I have encountered so far is much of the same from Managing My Life; Auto Biography.
I Love SAF, I'm a massive fan and he's my hero also having the pleasure of meeting him in person several times.
He's incredibly deep when engaged in conversation; a kind gentleman and very unselfish.
Someone with true respectable values that in today's modern world is sadly missing from many younger generations (I'm mid 40's) where true role models are scarce and hard to find.
I suppose I'll never see the ultimate book where SAF writes about his life where it's his expressions, decisions and thoughts on not just football but his life, family and current affairs as he is exceptionally witty, intelligent and warm.
oh well.......
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on 4 February 2016
Sir Alex Ferguson. A hero. A legend. An extraordinary manager of Manchester United. Interesting biography with a look behind the scenary of one of the most famous and important clubs in Englands Premier League. I liked the story and description of his former Players. I would buy it again.
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on 20 January 2014
This shouldn't be thought of as a must-read just for Man Utd fans; anyone who loves the game of football and has an interest in the finer workings of a football manager's mind will enjoy this book. Even City fans.
The thing is, very few managers are given two months in the job these days - never mind over two decades, so those who do survive in the same job for such a long time, such as Sir Alex and Arsene Wenger, become respected and successful figures in their own right. And they are worth listening to - even if you resent their success!
Ferguson comes across as fair in his assessments of players he has worked with, though perhaps it is no surprise that his opinion on some past on-the-pitch events might appear slightly biased at times! That is the way with all managers: selective eyesight. But it's part of the job to be blinkered by loyalty, and this of course just adds to the appeal of a book like this.
Give it a whirl, regardless of the colours you wear.
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