On Alex Ferguson, Loyalty, Hypocrisy and Manchester United

Alex Ferguson

In order to sell his autobiography, Alex Ferguson decided that everything he’s preached about for so many years, which is loyalty, professionalism and respect can be thrown out the window, as his life at Manchester United just had to be revealed in order to make money, trying to trash all of his enemies along the way.

And there were plenty. The Ferguson way of life, it seems, is to abhor anyone who criticizes him or dares to become a rival. It’s interesting to see him mention having a long feud with Arsene Wenger, which ended the moment Manchester United made it clear the gunners are no longer real rivals, after beating them in the Champions League semifinal in 2009.

Anyone who dares to stand up and challenge the Manchester United dynasty became a target. The only one who misses out on Ferguson’s criticism and wrath is Jose Mourinho, who is some Ferguson genuinely seems to like, even though he’s done so badly against over the years.

Ferguson couldn’t be more right about making the manager the first and last word in the dressing room, and it’s understandable that players going out of their way to become the power figure, bigger than him and the club had to have their wings clipped.

Still, it seems quite unnecessary to talk about how David Beckham meeting Victoria was the beginning of the end for him as a Manchester United player. He has some special venom reserved for Roy Keane and Rafa Benitez, only because they never complied and surrendered like most managers and players. Ferguson has talked about loyalty plenty of times, but it seems that retirement and the need to make this book a success has thrown out all the old principles.

Writing about referees also produces a chuckle. The manager who has enjoyed more favoritism from referees and the FA when it comes to scheduling and weird decisions, like everyone else, doesn’t like them. Maybe it goes to show that’s everything is subjective and in the eye of the beholder and no player or manager thinks he’s actually getting the benefit of the doubt over the years.

A life’s work has been taken from Alex Ferguson when he had to step down as Manchester United manager, but it also meant he doesn’t have to hold too many punches back, even though he never really held them while he was still working. The book is and will be a big hit for a very long time, because it spills some dirty details on his relationships with some of the most prominent figures in English football of the last 20 years. But from a man who sees himself as a class act and demands so much from others, this route of trashing anyone who might have slighted him in the past is less than the classy way to say goodbye to the football world.