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Managing My Life: My Autobiography

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This book is about the beginning of Sir Alex's football career, until the year 2000.

1999 was an outstanding year for Alex Ferguson - not only did he lead Manchester United, the most glamorous club in the world, to a unique and outstanding treble triumph, but he was awarded the highest honour for his sporting achievements; a Knighthood from the Queen. Universally respected for his tough, but caring managerial style, Ferguson is an unusually intelligent man with a fascinating life story. Covering his tough Govan upbringing through to his playing days and onto his shift into management, Managing My Life is told with the fine balance of biting controversy and human sensitivity which made it such an unprecedented success in hardback. Alex Ferguson is a legend in his lifetime.

544 pages, Paperback

First published August 1, 1999

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About the author

Alex Ferguson

20 books218 followers
a former Scottish football manager and player who managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013. His time at the club has led to Ferguson being regarded as one of the most successful, admired and respected managers in the history of the game.
Ferguson managed East Stirlingshire and St. Mirren before a highly successful period as manager of Aberdeen. After briefly managing Scotland following the death of Jock Stein, he was appointed manager of Manchester United in November 1986.

Ferguson is the longest serving manager of Manchester United, overtaking Sir Matt Busby's record on 19 December 2010, eventually completing more than 26-and-a-half years as the club's manager. He has won many awards and holds many records including winning Manager of the Year most times in British football history. In 2008, he became the third British manager to win the European Cup on more than one occasion. He was knighted in 1999 for his services to the game and also holds the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen.

On 8 May 2013, Ferguson announced his retirement as manager of Manchester United. During his 26 years at the club, he won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League and two UEFA Champions League titles

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5 stars
781 (39%)
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335 (16%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 60 reviews
Profile Image for James.
Author 4 books70 followers
June 13, 2018
Since I'm a lifelong Liverpool supporter I breathed a great sigh of relief when Sir Alex Ferguson (SAF) announced his retirement towards the end of the 2012-2013 season. And with good reason. SAF is the greatest Scottish / British manager in history, who boasts a staggering trophy haul. The irony is that after this bio was published (which would be the envy of 99.9% of living managers), Fergie went on to win the champions league again! SAF is Manchester United personified, yet as he often admits in his bio, his achievements would never have been possible without the patience and belief extended to him by the Man United board (that also caused him no end of trouble). SAF had a remarkable eye for a promising player, and his record in the transfer market was simply terrific. His observations on the differences between the British and the Continental approaches to the game are also particularly intriguing, especially since he is Britain's most successful manager in European football alive (and arguably second only to Bob Paisely in the record books). Many forget that SAF was also manager of Scotland at Mexico '86 following the passing of Jock Stein after Scotland's final world cup qualfier against Wales, and the account of his experiences serving as assistant manager to 'Big Jock' cannot but touch even his greatest detractors. Aberdeen was another club that SAF moulded in his own image, leading them to break the 'Old Firm' hegemony and even secure European silverware in an unforgettable final played against Di Stefano's Real Madrid. As a player Fergie's career was more distinguished than most people know, and his account of his early days in Govan and in Scottish football are incredible, especially when one considers the pampered lifestyle of footballers nowadays, and the depths to which Scottish football has lamentably fallen. The story of an absolute winner, penned with surprising objectivity and remarkable wit.
Profile Image for Allan.
183 reviews
January 26, 2014
Has been light relief from the Dostoevsky I finished a couple of weeks ago! I had browsed Alex Ferguson's latest autobiog in Waterstones over Christmas, but think this is a much better written book with more details about his early career in Scotland as a player and then manager. I found the editing a bit loose on occasions, but overall enjoyed this read as an insight into the highs and lows of his career, particularly at Man Utd. So many achievements-you can't help but admire his skill as a manager. Interesting to see his views on different players he managed- is full of admiration for Bruce, Cantona, Keane and Giggs. Fascinating section dealing with his time as Scotland manager and Jock Stein's sudden death- but he can't help himself being critical of certain referees and their decisions.
Profile Image for Gary.
2,548 reviews354 followers
December 2, 2012
I recently read his latest biography though interesting did not meet the standards of this one. Although if I am honest not one of my favourite people but I cannot help admire him.
Profile Image for Clare O'Beara.
Author 21 books324 followers
October 22, 2021
I don't watch or follow football, but I was interested by the lifestory of this manager. His humble origins in a family of Glasgow shipyard workers were explained. This background coloured his football playing career, with his manager asking what religion his wife was and where they had been married. After moving cities a few times, retiring from playing and assuming coaching roles then team management, Alex became successful and took on the major challenge awaiting anyone brave enough; the well-paid, heavy-drinking and ageing Manchester United team (some did not fall in those categories).

The pattern of encouraging young players and nursing older injured ones will be familiar to many people, and Alex speaks most highly of Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, the latter two coming up through youth teams. What I find it hardest to get my head around is paying the equivalent of a major firm's annual output to acquire a man to kick a ball. The story of not having enough funds available, the manager being paid far less than the players etc. and some other teams making a loan to their manager to enable them to buy a house, is revealing of just how big a business football has become.

This was entirely a masculine environment so I was pleased to see Sir Alex as he became, giving credit to his wife for her support. Some great photos appear in batches through the book. Readers interested in sports generally, or in the social history of UK, would get on well with this detailed, well-written book by Alex and a sports journalist.

This is an unbiased review.
Profile Image for Allan.
478 reviews67 followers
May 18, 2017
A break from my usual reading fayre, reading the first autobiography of the most successful manager of the modern football era, which was fascinating in many ways, if a little too drawn up by the last 100 pages or so.
7 reviews
December 12, 2012
This is an autobiography of Sir Alex Ferguson, widely regarded as the best soccer manager in England, and the world. This book was written after Manchester United’s treble: winning the league, the league cup, and the champion’s league. This Autobiography from a very young age, in the 1940’s to 1999. You learn all about his young life, when he attended middle school, and then secondary school, when he was becoming a professional footballer and a skilled tool maker. Then it goes on with his adventurous life as a soccer player to his managerial roles, most significantly at Manchester United. This book covers everything, and is well written, with everything making sense.

The average highschool student would most probably not enjoy this book. To appreciate this book, you need to have a lot of background knowledge and a definite interest in soccer. If you are not interested in soccer, then you will read 2 pages of this book and stop. It is not interesting, unless you know who Alex Ferguson and appreciate what he has done for the game. If you like soccer, know who Alex Ferguson is, and likes autobiographies, then this is the book for you. If you don’t like soccer, don’t bother.

I was very satisfied with this book. I expected a detailed story of Alex Fergusons life, his troubles, and most importantly his experiences that has made him a legendary manager. This is exactly that, and some more. It is funny in parts, and really is 3 dimensional with such a variety of information. It is not much of a page turner, more of a historical book that, if you like soccer, feel obliged to read.
Profile Image for Shonaigh Mudie.
39 reviews4 followers
January 8, 2013
Published just after the treble it gives you a great insight into the man from his childhood right up to winning it all on that brilliant night in Barcelona. You get a real sense of Ferguson and what makes him tick and he takes you right back through time chronologically including his own playing days and early jobs in management. Good to read about the wonderful things he did in Scotland too. He talks of how the games changed and times passed, family values and they are the ones he carries into his working life. Some great pictures and great stories, top book.
Profile Image for Graham.
Author 1 book53 followers
June 27, 2012
A brilliant book as written by a brilliant, awe-inspiring individual. My only gripe is that it was written so long ago and he's done so much more since then!! I hope he updates it once he finally retires from the Old Trafford hotseat! Reading this I am amazed by Sir Alex's intelligence, honesty and thoughtfulness. He is a very articulate writer and I found it engrossing. Loved it.
Profile Image for Vishrut Garg.
43 reviews
September 1, 2015
There's more to Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United than being at the helm of the most famous football club in the world. This book chronicles his rise from a small house alongside the Govan shipbuilding yard to the stairs of Hampden Park as a player, the pitch of Ibrox as a centre forward for his beloved Glasgow Rangers, to behind the counter at his own pub "Fergie's", to Gothenburg where a Scottish side beat the mighty Real Madrid to win the European Cup and finally to the Camp Nou, where Solskjaer won it to make Sir Alex Ferguson a club legend, and to be spoken of in the same line as Sir Matt Busby.

Written by the man himself, the book is entertaining and is recommended for anyone who while despising the wily Scot for winning so much respects him, and wants to know one of the greatest stories of football.
3 reviews
October 8, 2013
I really enjoyed this book because it talks about a topic that i love and that is soccer. Alex Ferguson is my favorite manager of all time because of what he had brought to Manchester United and to the soccer world. This mostly takes place in Manchester, England were all the soccer games were mostly played and were the historic moments had happened. He had changed soccer in a good way because he had different techniques than any other other managers. He would sign young taleneted players and made them into top class players. One problem he had is that he would not always win what he had wanted to win. for exmaple, the barclays premire league. He had to go against teams like, Chelsea,Arsenal,Manchester City.
Profile Image for Edward.
52 reviews2 followers
January 8, 2014
For the most part, this is a fine account of the career of one of the greatest managers in the history of British football. Hugh McIlvanney is the skilful ghost-writer who successfully weaves the material from Ferguson's time as a player, manager, publican and family man; barely striking a false note in tone and style. There are only two weaknesses: Ferguson offers only a few insights into his tactical planning (probably because he was still managing Manchester United at the time of publication), and as the autobiography draws to the time of writing, all-too familiar rants at referees disturb the sense of measured appreciation that prevails in the remainder of the book. Essential reading for anyone with an interest in British football, and a study in leadership.
11 reviews
November 13, 2015
Having already read Ferguson's other autobiography I wondered why it skimmed over his early and playing years. This filled in the gaps and I wish I had read this book first. This was a great read and is a fascinating insight into how Manchester United was rebuilt under Ferguson. Little did Ferguson know when the book was published in 1999 that there was plenty more to come as manager of Manchester United!
Profile Image for Eugene Yap.
14 reviews7 followers
April 27, 2014
It has a been an enjoyable ride reading on Sir Alex Ferguson life just after the treble. And that what went through with his life before undertaking the job that would make him the legend in the soccer fraternity.

It gives an insight into this legendary manager of his Never-lose mentality and his ability to pull out the best of the players
Profile Image for Nick Coleman.
2 reviews
September 6, 2013
this is a book about my favorite manager on my favorite club ( which is Manchester United) Alex Ferguson. this book is good for people that watch the premier league or like me a man united fan. i personally like this book. he tells you stuff about his personal life, awards,and when he use to play soccer.you will learn stuff you never knew about Alex Ferguson. i know i did.
Profile Image for Alejandro Shirvani.
124 reviews3 followers
August 10, 2016
This is the better of the two Ferguson books and the one which is a real autobiography and will tell you things you didn't necessarily know, about his background growing up, playing career and so on. Ferguson's book is better than most autobiogs, full of interesting little insights that give you an idea how his mind works. He comes over as an intelligent and interesting guy.
Profile Image for Zlatko Maric.
4 reviews2 followers
April 26, 2014
Good insight into a life of the best football manager of all time. This book only has one problem. It ends while Beckham is still in the club. I guess that author didn't expect to stay next to the pitch for years to come.

However, not really a problem since the new book perfectly fits after this one and finishes the story of one of the greatest people in football of all time.
Profile Image for Redfox5.
1,553 reviews54 followers
February 15, 2013
I thought I'd give this ago even though I think football is one of the most boring sports on the planet. Maybe there would be some interesting childhood tales etc, turns out a football manager played alot of football in their younger years. Who saw that coming? Snoreeeee. Did not finish.
7 reviews
January 18, 2012
A great insight to the life of a great man. When I read it it hadn't been updated for 10 years. Hopefully there's a sequel!
Profile Image for Anthony Watkin.
12 reviews1 follower
August 30, 2012
This book is great and a must read for man u fans and anyone who likes football.
2 reviews1 follower
September 27, 2012
Loved getting to know the manager of my favorite soccer club of all time. Wish they would create an updated version though since he has accomplished so much more since 1999.
Profile Image for A.
118 reviews3 followers
December 18, 2012
Amazing book to start. The life of one of the greatest ever football managers in his own words. Must read for any football lover.
Profile Image for Julian Kim.
Author 1 book27 followers
September 18, 2013
A great insight into one of history's greatest footbal managers. Entertaining, especially if you're a football fan.
Profile Image for Rami Jabr.
1 review
Currently reading
October 24, 2013
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ewan.
22 reviews
December 3, 2013
One of the more interesting and well written football Autobiographies.

Worth reading if you are a footie fan.
8 reviews
April 15, 2015
sir alex ferguson is a tank. his career as a manager was beast as he was a great manager for united. i believe this book really gave good details on his career. i think this book is a "must-read".
1 review
August 20, 2015
Excellent. Would never have taught that alex fergeson had such a sense of humour
Profile Image for Dan Weatherer.
Author 28 books32 followers
January 7, 2016
The better of the two books of his that I have read. I felt that this gave a more complete overview of the man behind United.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 60 reviews

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