Exciting publishing news, ladies and gentlemen. Alex Ferguson — you remember him: noted wine expert, author, business studies lecturer — is to publish an expanded edition of his autobiography, first published in October 2013
According to manutd.com, this expanded edition will include:
reflections on events at Manchester United since [Ferguson's] retirement as well as his teachings at the Harvard Business School, a night at the Oscars and a boat tour around the Hebrides, where he passed unrecognised
Obviously, while the What Sir Alex Did On His Holidays stuff will be fascinating, but it's the promise of juicy David Moyes stuff that will probably be persuading folks to buy a second copy of a book that they bought last year (and seriously, everybody bought it; the largest number of first-week sales of any non-fiction book on record). So what will he say?
Well, let's take a guess. The book, and so presumably the new chapter, were ghostwritten by Paul Hayward, Chief Sports Writer at the Daily Telegraph. Last April, shortly after Moyes was sacked and that ridiculous, asinine 'The Chosen One' banner was taken down, Hayward wrote a piece claiming that it had in fact never been accurate. That Ferguson had not hand-picked his successor:
I should say, as the ghostwriter of his recent autobiography, that nobody asked me to write this piece. It is not an attempt to rewrite history. The truth, however, is that Moyes was one of several obvious candidates to take over from Ferguson in May last year. It was not a case of the incumbent appointing his own successor without consultation with his employers.
He then goes on to detail why the various alternative candidates — Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti — were generally felt to be inappropriate or unobtainable, concluding that Moyes was the only option. A conclusion that rather lets Ferguson off the hook.
Now, ascertaining the absolute truth is obviously beyond us at tBB. We will simply note that this contradicts an awful lot of what United fans and the wider world were told at the time, by various people, including a number of other equally prominent journalists. Here, for example, is the Guardian's Daniel Taylor writing just before Moyes's sacking:
Plainly, it has been a difficult decision for United when it means abandoning everything they have always preached and going against Sir Alex Ferguson, the man who handpicked Moyes for the job and decreed that his successor, and friend, should get a six-year contract.
Pick your favourite. But that's our guess at what the book's going to say about Moyes: this wasn't a bad Ferguson pick, this was a consequence of circumstances, it's sad it didn't work, but you can't blame him more than anybody else. Not just because that's because what his ghostwriter already thinks happens, but because, well, can you imagine Alex Ferguson saying anything else?
The other big question that keen readers will be tracking, of course, is whether the publishers will be taking this opportunity to address some of the factual errors that made it into the book. 45 were eventually identified, mostly misremembered dates and players popping up in games they couldn't possibly have played in, and at least one customer was given a refund after contacting the publishers. This time around, Jaap Stam probably won't be moving to Roma.