Fergie's book and why Roy Keane might be right

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Football News

Even if you cannot read (although if you can't, I question the usefulness of this article) you will surely know about the media storm surrounding Sir Alex Ferguson's ninth book, imaginatively entitled "My Autobiography".

The book, released on October 24, has caused many a raised eyebrow at its stunning attacks on players and managers past and present.

Rafa Benitez, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Roberto Mancini and, most notably perhaps, Roy Keane have all fallen foul of Fergie's tongue, or rather, pen.

Of Keane, Ferguson was particularly critical, claiming he had a "savage tongue" - something certainly not untrue of Ferguson himself - and explained that there was major relief when he left.

This of his captain for four years and the man who helped him to win seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups, four Community Shields, a Champions League and an Intercontinental Cup.

Ferguson, a staunch believer - or so he claimed during his managerial days - in the adapted phrase: "what happens in the dressing room, stays in the dressing room" giving away his secrets does seem very strange.

Would Sir Bobby Charlton have released an autobiography for the press to pounce upon, predominantly expanding on why you dislike people, why you think people are wrong and why anyone who has ever badmouthed him is most likely a wee bit mad (Rafa Benitez is allegedly a control freak).

So, we ask, is Ferguson tarnishing a legacy? The answer, quite simply, is yes. Let me hand you this analogy:

I am the manager of a business. Everyone I work for looks up to me and all managers of rival businesses are worried about me dominating the market and taking over their business.

Eventually I retire. I tell my successor to continue where I left off: keep everyone looking up to him, keep intimidating his rivals. You may have guessed where this is going. I then tell the media (preferably the business pages) that actually, I hated much of my staff and they weren't big fans of me either. I think some of the current staff are bad workers and that the businesses better than me are, in my opinion, rubbish.

This makes the job of my successor (a Mr. Mavid Doyes) a lot harder. And doesn't shed me in very good light either. Ferguson has, in this book, made a lot of enemies of people who looked up to him, for example David Beckham, who has never said a bad word about him but whom Fergie labelled as "thinking he was better than Alex Ferguson" - he might as well have put in the words, "the great" before mentioning himself in third person - never a good sign.

Roy Keane was the first to react. He asked, quite rightly, how Alex Ferguson dared criticise those who had brought him success, who had tried their hardest FOR HIM, and also why Ferguson had even felt the need to write a book in the first place.

Was it to vent frustrations, or was it, perhaps, for a bit of extra cash and for some media attention. Surely Ferguson couldn't have written this book just so that ex-players knew what he really thought of them?

Eventually Keane answered his own original question - why did Ferguson think it right to criticise and bemoan the players who helped him bring himself and his beloved club success?

"[Loyalty?] I don't think he knows the meaning of the word".

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