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Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography - The Life and Lessons of a Legendary Manager

Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography - A Review

If you are a fan of football, or soccer as some call it, you have probably heard of Alex Ferguson. He is one of the most successful and respected managers in the history of the sport. He led Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, for 26 years, winning 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League titles. He also managed Aberdeen, where he won three Scottish league titles and a European Cup Winners' Cup, and Scotland's national team.

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But who is Alex Ferguson as a person? What made him such a great leader and motivator? What were his secrets and strategies? How did he cope with the challenges and pressures of his job? And what does he think of the current state of football and his former club?

These are some of the questions that he answers in his best-selling autobiography, which was first published in 2013 and updated in 2014. In this article, we will review the book and tell you why you should read it if you are interested in football, management, or life in general.

Who is Alex Ferguson?

Alex Ferguson was born in 1941 in Govan, a tough working-class district of Glasgow, Scotland. His father was a shipyard worker and his mother was a cleaner. He grew up in a socialist family that valued hard work, honesty, and loyalty. He was also passionate about football from an early age and played for several local teams before joining Queen's Park, his first professional club.

His early life and career

In his autobiography, Ferguson recounts his childhood memories, his family background, his education, and his early struggles as a player. He also reveals how he met his wife Cathy, who has been his constant support and companion for over 50 years. He describes his experiences playing for different clubs in Scotland and England, such as St Johnstone, Dunfermline, Rangers, Falkirk, and Ayr United. He also talks about his transition from player to coach, which started when he became a player-manager at East Stirlingshire in 1974.

His achievements as a manager

Ferguson's managerial career took off when he joined Aberdeen in 1978. He transformed the club from a provincial side to a dominant force in Scottish football, breaking the monopoly of Celtic and Rangers. He also led them to European glory by beating Real Madrid in the 1983 Cup Winners' Cup final. He then became the manager of Scotland's national team after the tragic death of Jock Stein in 1985.

In 1986, he moved to Manchester United, where he stayed until his retirement in 2013. He turned the club into a global powerhouse, winning multiple trophies at home and abroad. He also developed some of the best players in the world, such as Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney, and many more. He also had fierce rivalries with other managers, such as Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Kenny Dalglish, and Pep Guardiola.

His legacy and influence

Ferguson is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time. He is admired for his vision, his discipline, his adaptability, his charisma, his psychology, and his longevity. He has influenced many other managers and leaders in different fields, such as business, politics, education, and entertainment. He has also received numerous honors and awards for his achievements and contributions to football and society.

What is the book about?

The book is a memoir that covers Ferguson's life and career from his birth to his retirement. It is divided into four parts: Reflections, My Story (which is further divided into three sections: Glasgow Roots; Aberdeen; Manchester United), Looking Back Moving Forward, and United in Transition.

The main themes and topics

The book touches on various themes and topics that are relevant to Ferguson's personal and professional journey. Some of them are:

  • His upbringing and values

  • His philosophy and principles of management

  • His methods and techniques of coaching

  • His relationships and interactions with players, staffs, owners, referees, media, and fans

  • His opinions and views on football issues, such as tactics, transfers, contracts, academies, agents, doping, technology, and globalization

  • His challenges and difficulties, such as injuries, losses, criticisms, controversies, and scandals

  • His successes and joys, such as victories, trophies, records, celebrations, and testimonials

  • His regrets and mistakes, such as missed opportunities, wrong decisions, and conflicts

  • His inspirations and influences, such as mentors, heroes, friends, and family

  • His aspirations and plans for the future

The updated edition

The book was originally published in October 2013, shortly after Ferguson announced his retirement in May 2013. It was an instant bestseller and received positive reviews from critics and readers alike.

In October 2014, a new edition was released with additional material that reflected on events at Manchester United since Ferguson's departure. It also included new chapters on his teachings at Harvard Business School, his night at the Oscars with Russell Crowe, his boat tour around the Hebrides with Rory McIlroy and James Nesbitt, and his health scare that required emergency surgery.

The writing style and tone

The book is written in a conversational style as if Ferguson is talking directly to the reader. He uses an informal tone that is engaging and entertaining. He also uses humor and anecdotes to illustrate his points and make them more memorable.

The book is honest and revealing. Ferguson does not shy away from expressing his thoughts and feelings on various matters. He also does not hesitate to praise or criticize people or situations that he encountered in his career. He admits his faults and weaknesses as well as his strengths and virtues.

Why should you read it?

The book is not only a fascinating account of Ferguson's life and career but also a valuable source of information and inspiration for anyone who wants to learn more about football or management. Here are some reasons why you should read it:

The insights and lessons

The book offers many insights and lessons that can be applied to various aspects of life and work. Some of them are:

  • How to set goals and achieve them

  • How to motivate yourself and others

  • How to deal with pressure and stress

  • How to handle success and failure

  • How to communicate effectively and persuasively

  • How to manage time and resources

  • How to adapt to change and innovation

  • How to build trust and loyalty

  • How to resolve conflicts and problems

  • How to balance work and life

The entertainment and inspiration

The book is also entertaining and inspiring. It contains many stories and anecdotes that are amusing or moving. Some of them are:

  • The story of how he met Cathy at a dance hall in Glasgow when he was 16 years old and how they got married four years later despite their parents' objections because they belonged to different religious denominations (Catholic and Protestant)

he scored a hat-trick against Rangers in his first Old Firm derby as a Dunfermline player and how he celebrated by buying a new suit and a bottle of whisky

  • The story of how he discovered Eric Cantona when he was playing for Leeds United and how he persuaded him to join Manchester United for a bargain fee of 1.2 million in 1992

  • The story of how he dealt with the infamous \"bootgate\" incident with David Beckham in 2003 when he accidentally kicked a boot that hit Beckham's face and caused a cut above his eye

  • The story of how he celebrated his first Champions League title in 1999 when his team scored two goals in injury time to beat Bayern Munich in Barcelona and how he hugged his son Darren who was in the crowd