1-Sentence Summary. Manchester United’s legendary manager, Alex Ferguson, fills us in on his football team strategy, what he really thinks of certain star players, behind-the-scenes dramas of transferring players, his mistakes in recruiting, his rivalry with the other 3 major football clubs and along with his other personal life stories that built him up.
Why I Picked it Up. Many reviews have said that the book is so good, that even non-football fans will enjoy it. This made me curious, seeing that I am not a football fan and of course, who wouldn’t be tempted to know what the Alex Ferguson is thinking?
Why It’s A Gem
- YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A FOOTBALL FAN TO ENJOY IT. What they’ve said is true. It is quite easy for football newbies to enjoy this book. Sure, there were several football terms and numbers that were thrown in that didn’t make sense to me, but a majority of this book was understandable enough and you’ll hardly have a problem immersing yourself in Alex Ferguson’s world. In fact, you might find yourself being more interested in the sports and the history of other major football clubs.
- PACKED WITH BEHIND-THE-SCENES HUMAN STORIES. Rather than heavy football statistics, there were actually a lot more human stories in this book. Frankly, this is what made the book literally ‘unputdown-able’ to me. It’s not just about Alex’s stories, but it is filled with stories from other notable characters (aka the football players). Some were badmouthing others, some became such a diva, some were failures at first before becoming one of the most notable players, some are extremely shy and quiet, while others flipped on why the limelight isn’t on them. Sure, you might come to this book for Alex Ferguson or Man United, but you’ll definitely stay for the diverse human stories of his football players.
- THOUGHT PROCESS OF THE LEGEND. Aside from the real life stories, the goldmine here is always, “What and why did the Alex Ferguson think about this player/ this strategy/ this situation/ this game/ this controversy/ this club/ this industry etc etc?” There is something satisfying about getting a peek of the legend’s thoughts on the real life events that has happened to him, Man United and football in general. Alex Ferguson’s voice in the book was quite distinct as he clearly laid out his thought process for the most simple of readers to understand, including football newbies.
Why It Can Be A Rock
- RANDOM FOOTBALL STATS THAT SEEMED UNNECESSARY. Well of course, there will be football stats since this is a book about a football manager. Hence, this disadvantage would mainly be biased to non-football fans like me. As long as you can grit through about 3 chapters where he talked about winning this league, but losing other leagues etc, I ensure you that pretty much everything else about the book is still highly interesting.
- ENDING OF THE BOOK A BIT ABRUPT. Most of the chapters in the book were wrapped up really nicely before making way for a new chapter, But the final chapter was a bit too sudden, making me feel, “What? It has ended already? THIS is how you end the book?” To have the final chapter to be abruptly disappointing in concluding everything is a bit of a letdown for me. This book could have been very near to perfect for me.
As A Reading Panda, I’d Give It :
(9 out of my 10 bamboos)
I could identify closely with one of Lombardi’s greatest sayings: “We didn’t lost the game, we just ran out of time.”
The next thing I knew I had pizza all over me… They say it was Cesc Fabregas who threw the pizza at me but, to this day, I have no idea who the culprit was.
There is a price to pay when you support a football club, and the price is that you can’t win every game.
Cathy (Alex’s wife) would hear the local Conservatives announce themselves through the Tannoy (their house) and say, “Sorry, Mrs Ferguson is out. I’m the cleaner.” [Essentially his wife pretended to be a cleaner whenever some strangers came to visit]
Although I wouldn’t say that this book turned me into a fanatical football fan, but it did make me interested enough to sit and listen to friends talking about the history of their favourite football clubs, managers and players in the future. This goes to demonstrate how good this book is if it can turn someone like me, who was hardly interested in sports to not mind learning more about it.