Sometimes is best to leave things unsaid, to avoid confrontation and upsetting people’s feelings. Arguments, disagreements and opinions especially in a close knit community like in football should remain between the individuals concerned and out of the media. But it appears as though no one told Harry Redknapp and Sir Alex Ferguson who both released warts and all auto biographies that are now causing a stir. With the media glare firmly on the books and the content found within, Redknapp and Ferguson are now under the microscope for some of their more controversial comments.
In Ferguson’s book, entitled “Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography”, he talks openly about his time as United boss including the players he managed. Deciding not to hold back, Ferguson called former Aston Villa and United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich as the laziest player he ever managed whilst also slamming Owen Hargreaves as non committal and the worst signing he ever made. Harsh words for a player he once described as “sensational talent”. Hargreaves is likely to take offence to the claim in Ferguson’s book and will cite his reoccurring injuries as the reason for his troubled time at United, which Ferguson also claims was self induced and a result of lack of determination on Hargreaves part to overcome them. Ferguson goes on to say that United considered suing the former England midfielder over claims by Hargreaves that the United’s medical staff had let him down.
Bosnich and Hargreaves weren’t the only two to feel the heat from the book. Ferguson opened up about the decisions to let star players like David Beckham and Roy Keane leave United, insisting that the pair had to move on, with the latter in particular coming as a relief when he did. Ferguson claims that Keane’s attitude towards the end of his career at Old Trafford was affecting the entire squad and eventually overstepped the mark by criticizing his teammates in an interview with MUTV. Keane hit back saying that Sir Alex didn’t know the meaning of loyalty and that Ferguson should be grateful for what his players did over the years instead of talking about them in a book after he retired. Bosnich and Hargreaves are also reported to be upset at the comments with Bosnich going as far as to ask Ferguson for a face to face meeting to discuss them in more detail.
Redknapp doesn’t fare any better and indeed has reopened old wounds by talking in length in his book “Harry – My Autobiography” about his fall out with Billy Bond. The pair haven’t spoken since a falling out whilst Bond was West Ham manager and Redknapp was his assistant. In his book, Redknapp talks of his remorse at the breakdown in communication between the pair, citing external circumstances and a misunderstanding that led to Bonds removal as West Ham manager in 1994. Bonds has since branded Redknapp’s version of the event as all lies and has called his former friend pathetic for adapting the truth to suit his book. Redknapp’s approach to his book is less scathing than Ferguson, instead prefers to talk in length about the great players he has bought or worked with. Players like Paolo Di Canio, Rio Ferdinand and Paulo Future, all of which played for him at West Ham. So far no players have had a negative reaction to what Redknapp has written in his book but he may face a back lash over his claims that the English FA has no clue what they are doing, following the appointment of Roy Hodgson over him last year. Whilst not attacking Roy himself, Redknapp suggested the appointment was a surprise to many, who all suspected he had the job. The FA have been quiet to date but it may have finally put a nail in any hopes of Redknapp ever becoming England manager, something that he has always dreamed of doing.
For the reader, the warts and all approach is what they want to read in an effort to get a behind the scenes look at football. Sensationalism sells books but at what cost? Both managers appear to care little about hurting people’s feelings but revealing what they truly think in their respective books, but both will likely face difficult discussions about their comments next time they come face to face with their subjects. The two books are not the first to be written by a manager and certainly won’t be the last as the industry pines for more in-depth behind the scenes stories. The growth and interest in bloggers and columnists like the Secret Footballer has shown that this type of content is in high demand and that sensational stories are what people want to read. Sales of both books are doing well and will continue to do so, despite the objections from some of the subjects featured in them.