What Fergie said
Our 'at a glance' guide to Sir Alex Ferguson's autobiography as we pick out the killer lines to come out from the most highly-anticipated of sports book. The hairdryer has come out as the Scot gives his views on Keane, Beckham, Benitez and a raft of rivals he's sparred with over the years
Last Updated: 23/10/13 4:50pm
Keane and Ferguson's relationship soured in 2005 when the United captain became angry at Ferguson over conditions at the club's pre-season training camp. Ferguson says he decided to sell Keane after that incident. Then came an interview with MUTV in which he "slaughtered" a host of United players. In a team meeting afterwards Keane accused Ferguson of bringing his personal affairs in to the club over the Rock of Gibraltar case. Recalling Keane's mood at the time, Ferguson said: "It was frightening to watch." Keane was sold to Celtic, but turned up at the United training ground to apologise to Ferguson later that season, the Scot says.
Killer line: "He needs to go, Carlos. 100 per cent. Get rid of him."
Ferguson reveals he turned down the opportunity to manage England on two separate occasions. Firstly, he says he was approached in 1999 just before Kevin Keegan took the job and then two years later prior to the appointment of Sven-Goran Eriksson. As a proud Scot, it seemingly wasn't an offer that got him too excited.
Killer line: "There was no way I could contemplate that. It wasn't a bed of nails I was ever tempted to lie on."
Ferguson does not go in to too much detail about Rooney's supposed transfer request last summer - only that the striker was annoyed at not playing often. He does reveal more about Rooney's plea to leave in 2010, when the former Everton man told Ferguson that the club were not ambitious enough. Rooney said Ferguson should have signed Mesut Ozil, now at Arsenal. Ferguson said Rooney is "not the quickest learner", and claims the striker had to be dropped after a drinking incident two years ago, was not fit enough to last a full game last season.
Killer line: "He came into my office the day after we won the league and asked away. He wasn't happy with being left out for some games and subbed in others. His agent Paul Stretford phoned David Gill with the same message."
Ferguson enjoyed many a tussle with United's bitter rivals. He said he found former manager Graeme Souness to be a "good guy but impetuous". He also says Rafael Benitez was a "control freak" and branded the Spaniard's famous "facts" press conference "silly". Ferguson is also critical of Kenny Dalglish's £20million signing of Stewart Downing in the book.
Killer line: "The mistake he (Benitez) made was to turn our rivalry personal."
Sheikh Mansour's purchase of United's neighbours in 2008 gave Ferguson a new, rich rival. Ferguson describes losing the title to City in 2012 as the worst day of his life. Ferguson criticises then manager Roberto Mancini in the book over his failure to sell former United striker Carlos Tevez when he reportedly refused to come off the bench against Bayern Munich.
Killer line: "In terms of his prestige as a manager, he (Mancini) let himself down."
Ferguson says Beckham's football was affected by his celebrity lifestyle. He said the midfielder's workrate dropped in his final year at the club. After an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal in 2003, Beckham's eyebrow was cut after a row in the dressing room between Ferguson and his star midfielder. It's an incident Ferguson is keen to clear up.
Killer line: "David swore. I moved towards him, and as I approached I kicked a boot. It hit him right above the eye.Of course he rose to have a go at me and the players stopped him. 'Sit down,' I said. 'You've let your team down. You can argue as much as you like.' I told the board he had to go."
Ferguson claims his once-fiery relationship with the Arsenal manager mellowed by the end of his time in management. One flashpoint during their rivalry came in October 2004 when United ended Arsenal's 49-match unbeaten run. Ferguson was left covered in pizza following a furious row between staff and players from United and Arsenal. The row came after Ruud van Nistelrooy claimed Wenger berated him as he left the pitch. Ferguson says he does not know who threw the pizza, but claims Wenger confronted him angrily over Van Nistelrooy's accusation.
Killer line: "Fists were clenched."
RUUD VAN NISTELROOY
Van Nistelrooy was one of the best goal scorer's of Ferguson's reign, but the Scot claims the striker asked to leave just three days before the FA Cup final of 2005. He stayed, but after a training ground bust-up with Cristiano Ronaldo, Ferguson said he had no choice but to sell the Dutchman, who has since apologised to his former boss.
Killer line: "You ****." I'll always remember that. Could not believe it. The other players were telling him: 'Behave yourself.' But that was the end of him. I knew we would never get him back."
Ferguson criticises the anti-doping testers who turned up to take a urine sample from Rio Ferdinand in September 2003. Ferdinand missed the drug test and Ferguson blames the testers, who he claims were sat around having cups of tea, rather than going to the training field to wait for the defender to come off the pitch. Ferdinand received an eight-month ban, which Ferguson is critical of in the book.
Killer line: "His life expanded in more directions than we were happy with."
Ferguson has never been shy to concede his admiration for the Portuguese and predictably, he's quick to wax lyrical on the page. The Scot confesses he was powerless to prevent him leaving for Spain when Real Madrid came calling and instead writes of the entirely positive relationship he enjoyed with one of the world's best players.
Killer line: "One night I was watching a movie, White Fang, the Jack London book about going down to Klondike in search of gold. That's what it must be like for a scout. You're standing watching a game on a Saturday morning and you see a George Best, a Ryan Giggs or a Bobby Charlton. That's what I felt that day in Lisbon. A revelation. That was the biggest surge of excitement, of anticipation, I experienced in football management."
BEST OF THE REST
On Fernando Torres: "Torres was blessed with great cunning: a shrewdness that was borderline Machiavellian. He had a touch of evil, though not in the physical sense." On Steven Gerrard: "I am one of the few who felt Gerrard was not a top player." On Frank Lampard: "I didn't think of him as an elite international footballer."
Killer line: (On Mark Bosnich) "A terrible professional ... we played down at Wimbledon in February (2000), and Bosnich was tucking into everything: sandwiches, soups, steaks. He was going through the menu, eating like a horse."