By SIR ALEX FERGUSON
On-sale October 29, 2013 (Hachette NZ), $49.99 RRP
Recently Sir Alex announced his retirement as manager of Manchester United after 27 years in the role. He has gone out in a blaze of glory, with United winning the Premier League for the 13th time, and he is widely considered to be the greatest manager in the history of British football.
Over the last quarter of a century there have been seismic changes at Manchester United. The only constant element has been the quality of the manager's league-winning squad and United's run of success, which included winning the Champions League for a second time in 2008.
Sir Alex bought players wisely (eg he paid just £500,000 for Peter Schmeichel) but from his first days he not only developed an academy to bring on new young players like Giggs, Beckham, Butt, Scholes, and the Neville brothers, but he created a purposeful, but welcoming, and much envied culture at the club which has lasted the test of time. Players like Van Persie joined Manchester United even though they had been offered a higher salary elsewhere.
Sir Alex saw Manchester United change from a conventional football club to what is now a major business enterprise, and he never failed to move with the times. It was directly due to his vision, energy and ability that he was able to build teams both on and off the pitch. He was a man-manager of phenomenal skill, and increasingly he had to deal with global stars. His relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance, was excellent and David Beckham has described Sir Alex as a father figure.
Sir Alex is recognised as having a ruthless streak allied to his drive and passion to win. It islikely that he could have transferred his leadership qualities with equal success to business. He will address this question in his book. He also has a mischievous and very evident sense of humour, and is a master of mind games. Sir Alex is widely read, has a curiosity for life, and a passion for horse-racing. He also has a large and loving family. Their support and his many outside interests have stood the manager in good stead in times of adversity.
In his last home match, Manchester United beat Swansea City 2-1, not quite, but almost, in 'Fergie time', but it seems in keeping with his emphasis on planning that his final match as manager away to West Brom was his 1500th in charge. Over the past four years, Sir Alex has been reflecting on and jotting down the highlights of his quite extraordinary career and in his new book he will reveal his amazing story as it unfolded, from his very early days in the tough shipyard areas of Govan.
Sir Alex's life story promises to celebrate, to reveal, to entertain and inspire.