Alex Ferguson – Sir Alex announced his retirement as manager of Manchester United after 27 years in the role. He has gone out in a blaze of glory, with United winning the Premier League for the 13th time, and he is widely considered to be the greatest manager in the history of British football.
Over the last quarter of a century there have been seismic changes at Manchester United. The only constant element has been the quality of the manager’s league-winning squad and United’s run of success, which included winning the Champions League for a second time in 2008. Sir Alex created a purposeful, but welcoming, and much envied culture at the club which has lasted the test of time.
Sir Alex saw Manchester United change from a conventional football club to what is now a major business enterprise, and he never failed to move with the times. It was directly due to his vision, energy and ability that he was able to build teams both on and off the pitch. He was a man-manager of phenomenal skill, and increasingly he had to deal with global stars. His relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance, was excellent and David Beckham has described Sir Alex as a father figure.
Over the past four years, Sir Alex has been reflecting on and jotting down the highlights of his extraordinary career and in his new book he will reveal his amazing story as it unfolded, from his very early days in the tough shipyard areas of Govan.
Book Review by Matthew Hanzel
I probably did a serious mistake by reading this book first instead of the “Old Testament”–there are two autobiographies of Sir Alex: “Managing My Life” and “My Autobiography“. This book is clearly a sequel to complete the first book, and you may find yourself a tad disoriented without reading the first.
Do not expect to find the story of the 1998/1999 famous European Treble. It is in the “Old Testament”. This is the “New Testament”, in the instance of stories from after the Treble. The book is divided into topics, and they are not told chronologically. There are special chapters about things from Rio Ferdinand, Liverpool, to the 2007/2008 UEFA Champions League Final in Moscow.
It is a very interesting reading, even more if you are a Manchester United fan, used to see him in 26 years of his tenure. Many of the anecdotes are interesting, and will certainly complete any knowledge you have about the Red Devils and the work of this outstanding manager. You will love the stories that he tells throughout the book, and more importantly, I think you will certainly learn a lot from him in leadership, managing people, and more.
The book can also be confusing at times, though. The way it is written, sometimes the content of a chapter may well be distracted than the title it intends to tell. It is as if he is chatting with you, and while he is telling a story of something, suddenly he finds some sort of connection to something else, and the story gets distracted. Not the biggest pain, but can be confusing. I find the “Managing My Life” to be tidier in writing.
At the end, I get the feeling of wanting more from Sir Alex. Wanting to know more and more stories. Not that there are a little things that he does cover.
P.S.: This is the “updated” version of his autobiography, with additional chapters telling about post-retirement life and the thing with David Moyes.
His book is really a piece of oral history, and his life is a conduit to a time when a working-class man of talent could, not by the magical alchemy of elite education or the stardust of celebrity, but by a lifetime of hard work and hard thinking, rise to the very top and, flaws aside, remain true to the best of the world he came from.―The Guardian
My Goodness, this is fascinating.―Evening Standard
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About the Author
Raised in the tough Govan district of Glasgow, where his father was a shipyard worker, Alex Ferguson started his own working life as an apprentice toolmaker. He went on to play for Queen’s Park and five other professional football clubs including the idols of his boyhood, Rangers. Needless to say he was known as a hard and awkward opponent on the field as well as off it. Intelligent and quick-witted, Alex Ferguson followed his father’s lead as a deeply committed socialist.