Sir Alex Ferguson looked at times confused during the press conference as part of yesterday’s launch of his biography, which is hardly surprising given the first question was from a reporter asking for his views on the current state of Chinese football.
However, the former Manchester United boss looked far more uneasy when he was quizzed by Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow, with Snow delving into much deeper and darker areas of the 71-year-old’s career.
Snow asked Ferguson about his son Jason, a football agent, who was criticised by the BBC which saw them banned from press conferences given by the Scotsman for over seven years, and also linked how his control of the club was in a fashion not too dissimilar to Stalin.
Ferguson reacted most to Snow’s interest in his political beliefs and how that affected his relationship with the club’s owners, the Glazer family, which he is quoted by Snow in the interview as “rampant capitalists”, which Ferguson strongly denied ever saying.
Despite the intense scrutinising, Snow does claim to see a more controlled and mellow Ferguson – a far cry from the manager that prowled the Old Trafford touchline for 27 years – and the United legend nods in agreement, although it is something he feels he has been forced to change his approach due to the different culture British football finds itself in today.
Snow appears to be slightly surprised by the lack of anger and venom among the pages of his biography, and he questions Ferguson on whether he has another in the pipeline that will have “the explosive edition”.
“No there’s no book planned,” Ferguson stresses, as he explains that Alex Ferguson: My Biography has been three-and-a-half years in the making.
Having criticised his former golden generation of players though – which included David Beckham and rather more intensely Roy Keane – it is unlikely to be the last we hear on the matter, with the former Red Devils captain already speaking out in response to his former boss.
“I remember having conversations with the manager when I was at the club about loyalty,” Keane said last night when he was in the ITV studio ahead of Arsenal v Borussia Dortmund. “In my opinion he doesn’t know the meaning of the word. It doesn’t bother me too much what he has to say about me, but to constantly criticise players who bought him a lot of success I find very strange, but I won’t be losing any sleep over it.”
And with many others yet to have a say in response – former goalkeeper Mark Bosnich has supported Roy Keane and dismissed Ferguson’s claim that the Australian arrived at the club three hours late, although he refused to criticise him directly – the fall-out from the book which has shaken the football industry is set to continue.
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