Fergie’s book ruffles feathers

2013-10-24 16:49

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“We all fear the worst!” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger joked before the release of former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson’s autobiography.

While Wenger only faced minimal criticism from his one-time archrival, Ferguson saved the more scathing attacks for former players, including David Beckham and Roy Keane.

And as expected, Keane didn’t take too kindly to the Scotsman’s remarks.

Alex Ferguson poses with his new autobiography before a book signing at a supermarket in Manchester on Thursday (October 24 2013). Picture: Phil Noble/Reuters

What Ferguson said:

On the ‘beady-eyed’ Irishman Roy Keane: In 2005, Ferguson was left fuming after Keane criticised his team-mates on the club’s TV channel.

“What you did in that video was a disgrace,” Ferguson wrote.

He said the breaking point was when Keane accused him of bringing his private life into the club.

“The hardest part of Roy’s body is his tongue. What I noticed that day as I was arguing with him was his eyes narrowed to black beads. It was frightening to watch. And I’m from Glasgow.”

Keane’s reaction: “I remember having conversations with the manager about loyalty when I was at the club, but I don’t think he knows the meaning of the word.

“To constantly criticise players who brought him success ... I won’t be losing any sleep over it. A lot of these players helped win a lot of trophies. It’s just part of modern life. People like to do books and criticise ex-players.”

Ferguson (left) and Roy Keane. Picture: BackpagePix

On celeb David Beckham: “David was the only player I managed who chose to be famous, who made it his mission to be known outside the game,” Ferguson wrote.

“The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager he had to go. David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Alex Ferguson or Pete the Plumber. The authority is what counts.

“You cannot have a player taking over the dressing room. That was the death knell for him.”

Ferguson famously kicked a boot at Beckham’s head during a half-time row in a 2003 FA Cup match against Arsenal.

After the “boot” incident, which left Beckham with a cut forehead, Ferguson told the United board “he had to go”.

Beckham departed for Real Madrid soon afterwards.

Ferguson goes on to lambast Beckham for leaving Madrid to join LA Galaxy in 2007.

“There was no footballing reason for him to go to America,” Ferguson wrote. “He was giving up top-level football as well as the international game. You should never surrender what you’re good at.”

Beckham hasn’t responded yet.

Ferguson talks to David Beckham. Picture: BackpagePix

On the ‘sorry Wayne Rooney episode’: In 2010, Rooney said he would not sign a new contract at United because the club did not share his ambition.

“Wayne said we should have pursued Mesut Özil, who had joined Real Madrid from Werder Bremen. My reply was that it was none of his business. I told him it was his job to play and perform,” Ferguson said.

“It was a sorry episode for Wayne because it portrayed him as a money man. With the fans, it left a residue of mistrust.”

Rooney’s reaction: “Thankfully, he’s come back and corrected the story that I put a transfer request in and he’s gone back and proven that I haven’t,” said Rooney.

“I haven’t seen him since he retired. I’m happy under the new management. I’m working to get results under David Moyes and his coaching staff so that’s the main thing for me. The other stuff doesn’t concern me,” added Rooney.

“I’m just happy playing my football at the minute. That’s the past. I’m looking forward to the future now.”

Wayne Rooney was glad that Alex Ferguson cleared the air on his transfer saga. Picture: Phil Noble/Reuters

On unfit Australian goalkeeper Mark Bosnich: Ferguson, who wanted Bosnich to replace Peter Schmeichel, labelled the goalkeeper “a terrible professional”. In a press conference on his book on Tuesday, Ferguson had more to say: “Mark got off to a really bad start. He turned up three hours late for his first day’s training and he was overweight.”

Bosnich’s reaction: “I’ll definitely go down there if he is down there and ask to see him,” Bosnich told Britain’s talkSPORT radio, referring to speculation that Ferguson will travel to Australia next month. Bosnich works as a sports commentator in the country.

“I’m going to tell him straight to his face and I’ll ask him to repeat (his criticism) and then I will tell him exactly what I want to say and you guys can all read about it, like you read his book.”

Mark Bosnich. Picture: BackpagePix

On ‘silly’ former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez: Ferguson branded the Spaniard a “silly man”, saying he had no interest in forming a relationship.

“Once you made it personal, you had no chance, because I could wait. I had success on my side.”

Rafael Benitez (right) and Ferguson shake hands after the final whistle. Picture: BackpagePix

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