Fergie's Autobiography: As a Manchester City fan, I have a soft spot for Sir Alex

We live in an image-managed world, short on real characters like him

Share

I have never understood why revenge is a dish best served cold. Surely, it's best served piping hot, directly from the oven. Then it's fresh, it's got bite, and it tastes like it's meant to. Who wants a plate of tepid vengeance?

So Sir Alex Ferguson should be congratulated for getting straight into the kitchen to boil up a cauldron as soon as he blew full time on his trophy-laden career as a football manager. Few reputations survive without being scalded by Ferguson in his just-released autobiography, entitled, aptly enough, My Autobiography. (Some have suggested that the title of the book should be Settling Scores: I can't understand why they didn't go for Adding Insult to Injury Time. Also, I notice that he dropped his knightly appellation on the front of the book, preferring to be plain Alex. Why the bashfulness, Sir A?)

As a Manchester City supporter, I have a soft spot for Sir Alex. He gave focus and meaning to our partisan feelings. He was a paragon, a man we could both hate and envy. A man who represented success and stability. A man who took great delight in his superiority. And who can blame him for that?

I'm not saying we miss him, but the reaction to his autobiography has reminded me of the passion he inspires in both followers and adversaries, and how, in this image-managed, corporate-speak world, that is no bad thing. Graham Taylor said on the radio that if you are going to write an autobiography, it has to be a truthful account, and that if you do tell the truth (at least as far as you see it), some people are going to be hurt and/or furious. Taylor is right: so many life stories of sports figures are edited, air-brushed and manicured within an inch of their lives that it's refreshing to see raw opinions dispensed by such an illustrious figure.

With his career behind him, Ferguson has the luxury of not worrying what anyone the game thinks of him. Stiffened by the unshakeable belief in his own virtue, Ferguson won't be concerned by the ex-players who have already taken exception to his criticism. And nor should we. (Roy Keane, a man lucky to escape a GBH charge for the tackle that ended Alf-Inge Haaland's career in 2001, is a particularly unreliable witness.)

I was more interested in Ferguson's take on politics, and his association with the Labour Party which developed in his early career as a shop steward in the shipyards of Govan. He was more Brownite than Blairite - I cannot imagine what attracted Ferguson to the ruthlessly single-minded, control-freak Scot - and he says his natural position is on the left of the party. It is admirable that his conviction hasn't changed with all the wealth and success he accumulated. “In my youth,” he writes, “I acquired not so much a range of ideological views as a way of seeing life, a set of values.” Most books of this genre are written to a formula, more auto than biography, so whatever you think of Ferguson - and this is a difficult sentiment for me to express - it's good to have him back in our lives.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Account Manager

£27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...

Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager - Software & Services

£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager...

Recruitment Genius: Exhibition Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding B2B exhibition and...

Recruitment Genius: QA Technician

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer of re...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, who has its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival  

FAO Jamie Dornan: For a woman, being followed is not 'exciting' — it's humiliating and all too familiar

Mollie Goodfellow
By pretending to be a man, Mulan was able to join the army, defeat the Huns, and save China  

Disney is making a live-action Mulan? Well, that's one way to ruin the best film they've ever done

Helen Pye
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat