• Manchester United's book lifts lid on time at club
• 10 things we learned from Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography
The key points:
• Ferguson criticises Roy Keane for his outburst on Play the Pundit before he departed Manchester United. Says Keane had to leave and that he lacks the patience to be a successful manager
• Claims Rooney approached Ferguson after United won the title last season and "asked away". Says the forward wanted Ferguson to sign Mesut Ozil from Werder Bremen in 2010.
• Goes into detail about Manchester City's title winning campaign, with his wife, Cathy, claiming it was the "worst day" of her life.
• Says he was offered the England job twice but turned it down in 10 seconds
• Believes that David Backham swapped his United legacy for fame.
There you have it, Ferguson's book is OUT THERE. Pick up a copy, published by Hodder & Stoughton, for £11.25.
Given its centrality to Ferguson's later years at Old Trafford, the dispute with John Magnier and JP Mcmanus over Rock of Gibraltar is barely acknowledged. It was that bitter dispute, over Ferguson's right to a share in the horse's stud fees, that led directly to the Glazer takeover. It is dealt with in a couple of paragraphs, with Ferguson admitting it was "awkward" but at no point interfered with his management of the club. The matter was "resolved" when both sides agreed there had been a "misunderstanding", says Ferguson, matter-of-factly. He says he is now on "good terms" with Magnier. When his finally clashes with Keane, here too he "can't understand" the player's "obsession" with the Rock of Gibraltar affair.
The mistake he made was to turn our rivalry personal.
Ferguson says Ronaldo was "the most gifted player I managed".
Says he convinced Ronaldo to stay at Old Trafford for one extra year because he did not want to sell him to then Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon.
Described the goalkeeper as a "terrible professional"...
Bosnich was tucking into everything: sandwiches, soups, steaks. He was going through the menu, eating like a horse."
Ferguson thinks Owen's development was harmed by Liverpool, who failed to rest him enough in the early stages of his career or work on his skills technically. He regrets not buying Owen earlier, when left Real Madrid for Newcastle. "He's a fine young man".
In his memoirs, Tony Blair tells how he met Ferguson during a difficult period with his then Chancellor Gordon Brown.
"What would you do if your best player won't do what you want him to and just does his own thing?" the Prime Minister asked. "Chuck him out of the team," Ferguson is said to have responded.
Blair denied ever discussing cabinet reshuffles with the Manchester United manager, but in his autobiography Ferguson admits Blair "did say he was having a problem with Gordon".
Ferguson says he kept his advice general because he did not want to get involved in "personality issues" between the politicians.
I think Wayne is completely focused on his football, he has been since the first day back in pre-season. He's good in form, he's looking after himself and playing well.
Alex Ferguson can do what he wishes - he's his own man. Certainly everyone at Old Trafford would love to hear what he has to say, the supporters certainly would. He has great knowledge and I am sure a lot of people will enjoy reading it.
"I am sure I will [read it] when the time arises - I have not got much time in this job, that's for sure."
David Hytner reports...
Sir Alex Ferguson insists Manchester United can still retain their Premier League title despite their poor start to the season – but admitted he would have been "raging" at the club's fixture list had he still been in charge.
"Pondering why successive England managers have failed to trust Michael Carrick, Ferguson says he was "one of the few who felt Gerrard was not a top, top player" and Lampard was not an "elite international player". Persisting with Gerrard and Lampard in midfield was a "nightmare" for England."
Van Nistelrooy departed United in acrimonious circumstances in 2006, the final straw, according to Ferguson, being when the Dutchman swore at him on the bench after not being selected during the Carling Cup final against Wigan. Ferguson claimed he did want to sell the forward to Real Madrid but that his behaviour during his last year at the club forced his hand. However, Van Nistelrooy did make a phone call to Ferguson out of the blue in January 2010 to apologise for his behaviour.
A whole chapter dedicated to Manchester City's title victory details how their Premier League success was difficult for Ferguson to stomach. His wife, Cathy, told him that the final day of the 2011-12 campaign was the worst day of her life, and that he was determined to usurp them before retirement. Ferguson says United "absolutely battered" City during their 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford, but insisted there was no animosity towards Roberto Mancini. However, Ferguson said Mancini "let himself down" by allowing Carlos Tevez to return to the side after the Bayern Munich incident.
David Beckham had to be sold because he had started to think he was bigger than the manager and swapped the opportunity to become a Manchester United legend for fame, Sir Alex Ferguson claims in his new autobiography.
Following the incident in which Sir Alex Ferguson struck him with a flying boot in the Manchester United dressing room, Ferguson said he resolved to sell a player that he claimed was "more like a son to me".
Ferguson calls Beckham "a wonderful boy" but accuses him of "surrendering" his talent to chase the celebrity lifestyle and squandering the opportunity to become "an absolute top dog player" and "one of the greatest Man United legends".
Roy Keane will be a pundit for ITV's coverage of Arsenal v Dortmund tonight. Wonder if he will offer a riposte...
Here is a full news piece on Keane, with Ferguson questioning the former midfielder's ability as a manager, saying he needed to spend heavily at Sunderland and Ipswich and lacked the necessary patience to become a top-class coach.
Ferguson goes into detail about the infamous fall-out between Keane and the squad before he left for Celtic.
Keane was heavily critical of his United team-mates on MUTV's Play the Pundit, with the entire squad encamped in Ferguson's office to discuss the fall-out.
Ferguson says his eyes started to narrow to "wee black beads."
Here's Dave Hytner dissecting the chapter on Roy Keane...
"Ferguson paints the picture of Roy Keane, his former captain and talisman, as an erratic and terrifying figure, capable of frightening even him and, certainly, many players inside the dressing-room. Keane ruled with an iron fist and a savage tongue, which Ferguson said was the hardest part of his body. Their fall-out has become part of Old Trafford folklore and Ferguson traces the context to the decline in Keane’s on-field powers, and the related frustration he felt with that.
Keane had been furious about what he felt had been substandard pre-season facilities at Vale de Lobo, Portugal, in 2005 but it all kicked off when he gave his notorious interview to MUTV, in which he slaughtered many of his teammates including, according to Ferguson, Kieran Richardson, Darren Fletcher, Alan Smith, Edwin Van Der Sar and Rio Ferdinand. Of Ferdinand, Keane is said to have been scornful of the defender’s belief that he was a superstar ... “just because you are paid £120,000-a-week and play well for 20 minutes against Tottenham.”
Keane suggested that the squad watched the interview in order for them to make up their own minds and what followed was a ferocious confrontation between him and many of them, together with Ferguson. In front of the squad, Keane slated Ferguson for bringing his personal affairs to United, in the form of his dispute with John Magnier over the racehorse, Rock of Gibraltar. Ferguson said that it had been “frightening” to watch. He had to act and he immediately sanctioned the paying up of Keane’s contract and his departure to Celtic.
Ferguson writes that Keane did pop in to see him to apologise but the relationship has since turned ugly again after public comments between the pair. Ferguson also passes judgement on Keane’s managerial career, saying that he needed money to build squads and lacked the requisite patience to do so."
Ferguson was highly critical of Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish for their role in the Patrice Evra-Luis Suarez affair.
On Liverpool's decision to wear T-shirts in support of the Uruguayan, he described it as "the most ridiculous thing for a club of their stature".
He added that nobody at Liverpool had to power to rein Dalglish in, saying his compatriot fell back "on the old chip on the shoulder".
It was a great opportunity to relegate England. No way would I have taken that job. (Former FA chief executive) Adam Crozier was the first one to come and see me. It took me about 10 seconds to say no way.
Here's Owen Gibson on Ferguson's comments towards the governing body...
"Ferguson claims the FA used to go after high-profile targets, such as Manchester United and Wayne Rooney, because it resulted in favourable publicity. "It was never really possible to work out who was running English football's governing body," he writes. "It's an institutional problem. Reformers go in there 6 feet 2 inches tall and come out 5 feet 4 inches." He says Greg Dyke has to reduce the number of people involved in decision making: "A committee of 100 people can't produce sensible management." Ferguson also, perhaps predictably, declares that there are no "really top" referees in the modern game, damning them as unfit and "as a group, aren't doing their job as well as they should be"
Ferguson claims the "Pizzagate" match at Old Trafford between Arsenal and Manchester United "scrambled Arsene's brain".
However, he reveals their rivalry mellowed in later years and admitted he felt sorry for the Frenchman during Arsenal's 8-2 defeat to United in 2011.
Ferguson reiterated his stance on Rooney, claiming the forward asked to leave Manchester United after they won the Premier League last season.
Ferguson claimed Rooney came into his office after the victory over Aston Villa and "asked away".
In 2010, before Rooney signed a lucrative contract extension with the club, he claimed United lacked ambition and told Ferguson he was disappointed they had not pursued Mesut Ozil at Werder Bremen. Ferguson told Rooney that was none of his business.
Ferguson revealed that he turned down the chance to manage England twice, in 1999 and then two years later before the appointment of Sven Goran-Eriksson
Ferguson's autobiography is a riveting read, touching on all the controversies during the second half of his Manchester United career.
He does not go into much detail about the Rock of Gibraltar dispute with John Magnier and JP McManus. However, he has his say on...
• Roy Keane
• Wayne Rooney
• The FA and England
• David Beckham
And much more
Until we are able to reveal details of the book. It makes for excellent reading
If you don't fancy buying the book – even with that kind 55% discount at Amazon – this 5,000-word piece from the Harvard Business Review (as featured in our weekly Favourite Things series) is probably just as good. The Harvard professor Anita Elberse spent hours interviewing Ferguson about his leadership techniques. She summed up his style in eight "leadership lessons" and a drop of wisdom emerges from every word Ferguson says.
By the end of the afternoon everyone should be scoring a perfect 10 in this.
"When the call came to ghostwrite the book, my response was part pride, part terror: and not because I feared his wrath. My trepidation stemmed from the sheer scale of the enterprise. It felt like taking on the life story of a Prime Minister."
Ferguson told MUTV on Sunday:
“The problem with doing a book is you have to bring in the elements and factors which in many way either affected or determined your management decision-making. But because I’ve been at the club such a long time and you're building team after team after team, there are areas that you can’t ignore. Why we sold certain players like David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy. You can’t ignore these things, because these guys were big, big figures in Manchester United’s career history."
The last time Ferguson launched a book, back in 1999, the main subjects covered included Gordon Strachan, David Beckham, Paul McGrath and Bryan Robson.
Ferguson on Strachan
Strachan's rebirth at Elland Road was something to be celebrated. Only the mean-spirited would not be thrilled by the sight of a man fulfilling his possibilities. If he inflicted some damage on us, that was fair enough. It did not weaken my belief that the policies I was putting in place when I transferred him would bring dividends.
Ferguson on Beckham
I could find no justification for Hoddle's insistence that David had to appear at a press conference while he was still reeling from the shock of being dropped for England's opening World Cup match. It would have been more sensible to give the lad private encouragement to react positively to the biggest disappointment of his international career.
Ferguson on McGrath
Although Norman Whiteside's drinking never struck me as being as serious as Paul McGrath's, he was a worthy companion for the big defender when it came to carousing. I was saddened as well as infuriated by the way they abused themselves, since both had the sort of talent given to only a tiny elite of footballers
Ferguson on Robson
It would have been impossible for any manager to avoid thinking of Robbo as a hero. He was a miracle of commitment, a human marvel who pushed himself beyond every imaginable limit. Of all the players I've worked with during 40 years in the game, he ranks among the three or four who impressed me most.
Arsène Wenger seems very excited about Ferguson's book:
"I think it is good that he makes a book. Maybe he does not have enough time to think about his whole career, it is a bit short between the moment he stopped and the moment he brings his book out. But maybe there are some other books coming later, so it is an autobiography there could be two, three or four (versions) of it."
He's already had one book: Managing My Life: My Autobiography.
We are not allowed to reveal any details of the book until 2pm, so sit tight until then folks
Barry Glendenning is at Sir Alex Ferguson's press conference on Pall Mall...
Ferguson hasn't given much away. But he took some time to talk to journalist Charlie Rose on PBS a few weeks ago about his career. Here he is discussing dynasties and the greatest player he has ever seen (all-time: Pelé; modern-day: Messi and Ronaldo):
Alex Ferguson's new craftily titled autobiography "My Autobiography" will go on sale on Thursday morning. We picked up a few copies from the publishers this morning and will be providing you with as many details as we can this afternoon.
Myself and Owen Gibson will be along with 10 things they learned about the book shortly and Barney Ronay will be posting a fuller review later this evening. Ferguson is hosting a press conference in London at 1pm, which Barry Glendenning will be sketching later this afternoon. Everything you need to know about the book will be here on the live blog.
The book can be bought at Amazon – and the price has already been slashed from £25 to a still-not-that-affordable £11.25. As Amazon point out, you save £13.75 (55%).
Here's what it looks like: