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

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

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam