Sir Alex Ferguson, the legendary Manchester United manager who stepped down at the end of last season, recently released a autobiography. Befitting a man widely lauded as the best manager of the modern era, the British press has thrust the book’s juicy details into the spotlight. In his own words, Ferguson Ferguson dishes on subjects ranging from his fallouts with stars such as David Beckham, Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney to his loyalty to United’s owners, the Glazer family, to his often testy relationships with managers Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger. The Guardian, likely knowing that I will not have time to read the book until winter break, has done a public service and released a synopsis of 10 stories that Sir Alex discussed.
Of The Guardian’s list, I found Ferguson’s admission that “there was an intensity and volatility about the modern media I found difficult” to be the most surprising. One example of this Sir Alex, as the article notes, did not speak to the BBC, one of Britain’s largest media entity, for seven years in response to a documentary that painted his son Jason in a negative light. Mostly though, I find this interesting because Fergie, as Manchester United fans call him, was known for his “mind games,” in which he ostensibly toyed with the minds of referees as well as opposing managers and players. That Sir Alex, often accused of manipulating the media for United’s advantage, found today’s omnipresent media overbearing demonstrates the pressure 24/7, instant media coverage places on managers. If Ferguson struggled to deal with the media in recent years, it is likely that even the most media-friendly of managers is merely treading water in their dealings with the press.