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In hindsight and after the publication of his recent tome, one is able to appreciate this book and the writing skills of the great Hugh Mcllvanney. Although elements of the book are unbecoming - picking on soft targets such as Gordon Strachan and Brian Kidd do Ferguson no favours - this remains an engrossing read and undoubtedly the superior work on the United manager. Going all the way back to Ferguson's childhood and playing career through to his managerial posts at East Sterling, St Mirren, Aberdeen and of course Manchester United. We are able to witness the drive of Ferguson to bring success to all of his clubs and yet we still are able to see the human side behind the public personna. Ferguson talks fondly of his upbringing and childhood friends, presenting a side of the man that is rarely seen in media appearances. In summary, this remains a far worthier publication than Ferguson's recent effort with Paul Hayward and remains the benchmark for all literature on the Scot.
I first read this book nearly 10 years ago as a youngster soon after it had come out. I don't really think I appreciated it too much then as I was only 11 but took it on a recent holiday to Turkey to have another go.
I am glad I did as it is a fantastic read and was very difficult to put down. As a Man United fan I already regard Ferguson as more than a legend, but this book endears you to him further, as he tells his tale with humility and honesty. He is full of praise for those in his life whom have helped him to the top and equally critical of those he regarded as a hindrance.
His story begins in Govan, Glasgow where he grew up and ends with Man United's historic treble which was acheived in 1999 following a dramatic victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final in Barcelona. Everything in between is an enthralling account of an individual who realised his footballing talents at a professional level following an apprenticeship, before juggling the ownership of a pub with managing a variety of Scottish sides.
Ferguson tells of his close relationship with managerial legend Jock Stein, as well as his success in breaking the monopoly of Scottish football with Aberdeen. For me, his tales of his time at Man United are the most interesting and his anecdotes do not disappoint, including his relationship with the various playing staff at the club whom I have idolised from an early age.
Ferguson's story is detailed, brutally honest and just really interesting, and while it is a bit of a rags to riches story, at no point does he indicate this, showing what a down-to-earth character he is. Overall, it's a brilliant read with all the highs and lows one would expect of an autobiography and is certainly a must amongst United fans, as well as those interested in football. While many people involved in football have the utmost respect for arguably British football's most successful ever manager, I challenge anyone who despises or can't stand the man, to let him change your mind and show you his true class.
The smell of hamburgers and horse manure swept through the air. People chatted to each other, rubbing their hands to keep themselves warm. It was March, and the spring air bit into the skin, even though the sun tried bravely to break through the clouds. An excited eight-year-old boy stood patiently with his father, waiting to go into the football ground that was just a few people away. Then finally the father and son made their way through the metal turnstiles and into another world. The young boy walked up the steps from the concourse and on to the terrace. He was inside Old Trafford. From that moment on the boy's life would never be the same again. That was 1985, and I was that boy. Football was the only thing that mattered and Manchester United were the only team that mattered. The bug had bitten me (and it's still biting now). But as 1985 became 1986, United started to find indifferent form and in October of that year flamboyant boss Ron Atkinson was fired. The board had seen enough already as the 86/87 season had started so badly, it was time for someone else to try and turn the club's fortunes round. My dad was in no doubt who he wanted; "Alex Ferguson from Aberdeen" he said. The directors of United were already on it. Ferguson was installed as the new manager almost straight away. Things didn't start to well for Ferguson. A 2-0 defeat away at Oxford in his first game proved to the Scot how hard his job would be, but with time and an unbreakable determination the man would become a legend. Almost Thirteen years on and the impossible dream came true. United won the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and European Cup and with those honours came a knighthood for Alex Ferguson from the Queen. It was also time for him to document his life story in his much-anticipated autobiography, Managing My Life. This was one book that I had to buy. I had to try and get to know what made this great man tick. The media has always got o
pinions on Ferguson, mainly negative ones but there is no doubt they respect him and some might say, fear him. By reading this book, you realise that it’s not just the media that respect and possibly fear him. The book begins with his early life with his family in Govan, an area of Glasgow. It is here at the very beginning we start to learn about Ferguson’s character. His qualities such as loyalty and determination are clear from an early age, along with stubbornness. Ferguson showed football talent himself as a youngster and tried to juggle a job while training and playing. Eventually he went professional but not before some run-ins with his father, work and the clubs themselves. After an average playing career he decided to take up management with St. Mirren, his toughness being tested while running a pub in Glasgow. After leaving St. Mirren under a cloud, we find him moving to Aberdeen, a modest club in the Scottish top division starved of success, which was mainly because of the two Glasgow clubs, Rangers and Celtic. Could Alex Ferguson shape these under achievers into a footballing force? The book then charters his time at Aberdeen and Ferguson gives us an insight into his life at the club, talking about different matches, off field events and the characters he had to deal with. Meanwhile his growing management reputation had not gone unnoticed South of the Border. Manchester United offered Alex Ferguson the job as stated earlier and he accepted, leaving behind a legacy at Aberdeen that he had built and had succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations. Although the job at Old Trafford looked glamorous, there were a lot of internal problems hiding behind this sleeping giant called Manchester United. Could Alex Ferguson shake the club up and get them back to being a side challenging for trophies, both in England and on foreign soil? It wasn’t going to happen overnight and Ferguson needed to change a lot of what he had inher
ited, including the whole culture that the players had come to expect. Unfortunately things didn’t go to plan early on and with pressure mounting on Ferguson, the terraces started to call for him to be replaced. He had brought in his own players and replaced crowd favourites like Norman Whiteside. The paying public were not happy with the results. Thankfully Ferguson turned the club’s fortunes around and his book continues from his early dark days to his first trophy at United, the FA Cup in 1990 until the remarkable treble season of 1998/99. With every page we learn more about his character, and how he deals with difficult situations both on the field of play and off it. In his time at United he has dealt with some explosive personalities and Ferguson gives his honest assessment of people. If he doesn’t like a person, he makes it clear and in this book he criticises many well-known people in the game, and not just former United players either. He talks about his relationship with all the personnel at the club, including high profile players like Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and former United Chief Executive Martin Edwards. He speaks about some of the glory nights he has experienced, and you can feel the pride he has at the success of his team. He recognises that he didn’t have it easy at the beginning at United, but knew that given time he could turn things around. He has proved himself and then some. I highly recommend this book, but not only to United fans. I found it very hard to put down and even people with a passing interest in football should really take to it. The important thing is to take notice of his early life as it really does show you how he became what he is today. And that is a legend.
Whether you like this book, the autobiography of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, will largely depend on your feelings towards the subject... More of that later, however, and for now let's concentrate on the book itself. Like most such footie biographies Managing My Life is ghost written, with healthy revisions by contributors to the mumbling mouthings of the supposed author. It has the usual hallmarks of the genre, with a preoccupation with their own particular view of life. Fergie's preoccupation with his socialist ideals was born from his working class upbringing, which he shared with most of the other great managers, like Busby, Shankly, Revie, Stein and Clough (why is it that there aren't characters and great men like that around anymore?) Life was hard as a youngster and Fergie revels in the mythology and glorification of his past, and has an underlying bitterness and resentment for those who he feels has crossed him. Much of this thick tome devotes itself to the denunciation of real or imagined bad guys, and the bile dealt out to his erstwhile right hand man, Gordon Strachan (who served Fergie well at both Aberdeen and Man U) is disappointing. Fergie's one eyed description of losing the 1992 title battle to Leeds United is similarly lacking in generosity and warmth, and it is this obsession with him and his own, and total conviction that everything he does is right is what really grates about the man and his works. Having said all that, Ferguson has won grudging respect from even his fiercest critics for his achievements and the way he has brought the Old Trafford club to eminence. Those who complain that he had the money to do it and maintain that anyone with the same resources would have been guaranteed success are fooling themselves. David O'Leary's bulging bank balance never created a breakthrough and neither did that of all Fergie's predecessors at O
ld Trafford, and the man's first four years in the job almost saw him go the same way. I well remember the time when only a decent Cup run in the 80's saw Ferguson escape the sack in his early days. The key factor in his rise, however, is money and the faith placed in the man by United over years. Dominance isn't gained overnight and Fergie built his empire on solid foundations. The book encapsulates the man particularly well, along with his patriarchal style, painting a vivid/livid picture of the emotion and respect that always drifted aorund him. The story of the Treble triumph is thrilling and seductive, although it will only be truly enjoyed by those who are true blue Reds. In fact, the whole thiong's like that and it's difficult to feel any empathy if, like many out there, you resent the cornering of the market which Fergie's presided over. Grudging respect is the standard response, and that's never a positive outlook. The book is all about candidness and forthrightness and for that one has to have respect, but it's difficult to separate the man out from the club these days. Fergie will go down in history as a great club manager, probably the best of all time, but he's not a nice guy - still that ain't really what it's about. I mean, try naming a successful, great manager who was also liked - Busby was one, and Shanks was another, but all the rest were flawed geniuses whom you wouldn't really have wanted to share a dinner table with. The other thing that's good about the book is the vivid social picture of the last fifty years which it paints, exploring the move from post war Britain and austerity to the money-obsessed world of today... fascinating, although in a creepy, unpleasant way...
Alex Ferguson is one of the people I most admire in football today. As much as I hate Manchester United I have to look on at his record with admiration, and I actually like the bloke as a person. Not only has he dominated English football over the last decade with his Manchester United team, also breaking the Rangers/Celtic domination in Scotland with Aberdeen and as a player. Although recently he has dropped hints otherwise, he will be retiring this summer to draw down the curtain on an illustrious career. ‘Managing My Life’ is his autobiography that covers all this and more. The book starts with a recollection of the magical events at the 1999 European Cup final when his United team beat Bayer Munich with a late come back. This was arguably the crowning glory of his Manchester career and is a good place to start with the highs, anticipation and anxiety of the build up, then the euphoria of winning. Then he moves onto his early life. This is a very interesting part, and for non-football fans the best bit because of the lack of football, but it does feature still. Seriously this is very interesting, he lived as a kid just meters from the river Clyde, so qualifying as real Clydesider. Also his working life as an apprentice toolmaker, living in quite poor background at a tough area of Glasgow. His father and brother, Martin both worked in a local shipyard and his family was mixed between Catholic and Protestant. This also became and issue in football when he was turned down for some clubs, most notably the mighty Rangers on his wife and family both being Catholics that caused splits though has effectively never been an issue for him. He is close to his brother Martin, both enjoy their football and grew up together. As a player Ferguson enjoyed a good career north of the border. He started young; playing football came above his schoolwork, and signed for several big armature clubs before being signed for Queens Park, who
played at the famous Hampden Park. Ferguson was a striker, tough enough to handle himself yet a talent and a nippy striker. He worked his way through the youth and second teams, then the first team. At this time he still had a job as an apprentice, but this came under pressure when he moved away to St. Johnstone. He has also played for Scotland at youth levels, and at club level he moved to Dunfirmeline where he was a regular scorer. A dream move to Rangers followed when he signed, and in the tail end of his career he signed for Falkirk. It was enough to earn a living, he was a decent enough player though it was as a manager he is most famed. Ferguson entered management with some lower league Scottish clubs, before his big move came when he moved to Aberdeen in the top division. There he was able to end Celtics and Rangers stranglehold up there by winning the Premiership. He also picked up some cups domestically, but an even bigger triumph was winning the European Cup Winners Cup. A move to Manchester United came about while United were going through a sticky patch not winning a lot and poor league form. His turnaround from this to domination, which only Blackburn and Arsenal have beaten is famous. The follows the progress of the seasons, not to bore you with details. As Hansen famously said ‘you’ll never win anything with kids’ Beckham, Scholes, the Nevilles, Giggs to name a few were brought on by him, but that is not without trouble. Paul McGrath and Norman Whiteside soon fell out with Ferguson over drinking and staying out late, as have others over time. Lee Sharpe signed from Torquay was more famous down here for his drugs than his football, he was more commonly known as smackhead, he too fell foul of Ferguson. There is also transfer dealings, his trouble with agents such as Kanchelski’s move and Barthez and van Niestlerooy arrival more recently. There is a lot of football there, I loved this, as clearly does he. Asid
e from football Ferguson is keen on horseracing, as are many footballers who have money and time spare to put a lot in. He owns several horses, and makes pretty frequent references to his delight when one wins a race. He also (briefly) ran a pub in Glasgow, where he has several stories from the interesting characters and visitors. There is also a moment of pride when he is awarded the knighthood for services to football, and he is close to his wife Cathy and all his other family. His son Darren plays for Wrexham in the second division, again he is proud of his son who is carrying on with the tradition, though he did manage to get two of them a trial at United when he was there, so there may have been a bit of a helping hand. A whole chapter of the book is dedicated to the great manager Jock Stein. Ferguson clearly shows in his writing how honored he was to have the chance to work under him. He is one of the footballing greats and when working under him as assistant for the national team. He was there at the game, as assistant again when Stein died of a heart attack. He had the job of telling the family, and was shocked at the loss. A nice piece of writing, much of it from the heart and very complimentary to Stein. As Scotland assistant he traveled to the World Cup in 1986 and again enjoyed the experience. Scotland manager Craig Brown parted company earlier this season; a nice end would be for Ferguson to take the job. This clearly looks unlikely Berti Vougts looks favourite to take this and Ferguson still looks set for retirement. Overall this is well worth a read, the early days are interesting to read, while I enjoyed the parts about the career as both a player and a successful manager. He is someone you have to admire for all he has achieved, and this book is worthy of the great man. He will be missed for his influence and character in the football world. Great read.
Love him or loathe him, one has to admit that the story of the lad from the working class background who made it to the pinnacle of football management makes compulsive reading. In his own words Ferguson tells how he, the son of a Glasgow shipbuilder, overcame such disadvantaged early years to achieve the unparalleled success of the 1999 season's Treble. This frank and passionate story tells how Ferguson has relied on the support of those close to him to overcome the pressures of football management at the top. The book contains many interesting anecdotes and candid views on those with whom he has worked over the years. Don't expect much in the way of football tactics or punditry from Sir Alex, this book is about Ferguson the man. Recommended.
I have read a lot of footballing books in my time - and this must be one of the most interesting autobioghies of the most respected man in football. This book reveals not only the successful management side of the Manchester United manager but also the tough childhood, his eventful life as a player as well as his successes off the pitch. I am not a Man Utd fan but this is not about Manchester Utd. Any football fan would find this book incredibly emotional and at times humourous, a side which is rarely seen by the public. Ferguson seems to remember events from 40 years ago as if they were yesterday and discusses his personal opinions on football nowadays. A fantastic autobiography of a fantastic man, Sir Alex, we salute you.
You have to admit that Sir Alex has been a great manager over the years and his genius has made Manchester United what it is today. But not all that many people knew about his roots, beginnings and professional career as a footballer. That is until only a few months ago however, but since the publishing of his autobiography, Managing My Life, many more people have taken an interest into his life so far. The story starts all the way back by the side of the Clyde where Ferguson grew up in a rough and tough society. It really starts however when he first starts to play footie for a club and as you read on he progresses all the way up to part time and finally pro. It winds it's way through his career until it finished and then started again as a manager. You follow him all the way until the unique treble etc. The book is full of details that seem almost too obscure to have been remebered by anyone but the book does lack one thing in my opinion. Ferguson does not mind concentrating about his external life and career but he doesn't even touch on the subject of what he believes in and makes him tick. This seems a shame as many other people have opened up and have said publicly in their autobiographies what their beliefs are on certain issues. Overall Managing My Life is very good from the detail side of things but does not go into the mental side of life.
Alex Ferguson is without any shadow of a doubt the most successful football manager of the last twenty years, and 'Managing My Life' chronicles his career, first as a distinctly average player and then as an increasingly impressive manager. This book is required reading for anyone interested in football today, since no-one can ignore the man's influence on the game. Unfortunately, though interesting, it is not particularly well written. In my opinion one can get a good idea of the ability of an autobiographer from the number of times he uses the words 'I' and 'my', and Ferguson uses them more than most: I did this, I did that, my view was the other. Parts of the later chapters smack of arrogance: 'We had to be satisfied with a draw against...', 'I knew that [a player] was good enough [even though he had a bad game]', and so forth - he rarely acknowledges that on the day the other side was better than Manchester United! He is also unreasonably scathing about the press and pundits when they criticise him, given that he plays to them so much when successful. Any United fan, indeed any football fan, will find the book interesting, but I wouldn't call it a pleasurable book to read.
After reading ALEX FERGUSON,S auto biography,entitled "MANAGING MY LIFE",I must say that it is possibly the best biography I have read to-date. Honestly potraying his life and carrier so far.From his boyhood days in the clydside district of glasgow.Playing for various boys clubs to his rise to become a proffesional footballer. He played for such clubs as QUEEN,S PARK,ST JOHNSTONE,DUNFERMLINE, FALKIRK,AYR UNITED and RANGERS.Later in his football life,management became his goal. He became manager of EAST STIRLINSHIRE,ST MIRREN, ABERDEEN,briefly SCOTLAND,and MANCHESTER UNITED.HE has become a manager of great standing. His early days of management were not all pleasent ones.Having to deal with players with drink and fitness problems.Eventually he overcame the prpblems tolead his teams to glory. how can we forget the triple of league cup,league title and european cup wins 1998-99. AN EXCELLENT BIOGRAPHY from anEXCELLENT MANAGER