Saturday, March 14, 2015


Two years ago when Manchester United manager `Sir` Alex Ferguson finally retired I rather rashly assumed that that might have  been the last we would see or hear from him. I should have known better.   Since he left Old Trafford, with its `Sir` Alex Ferguson Stand and trotted off passing the `Sir` Alex Ferguson statue to his new life down `Sir` Alex Ferguson Way, he seems to have been popping up with annoying regularity.

First it was the announcement that Manchester United had appointed him as a `global ambassador` at a salary that worked out at over £100,000 a day for each of the taxing 20 appearances he was contracted to make;  then he went off to Harvard University as an unlikely lecturer at their Business School on the subject of `the business of entertainment, sport and media.`   Says much about the Harvard recruitment process that they engage someone who, yes, has achieved spectacular results but has done so with a management style that can generously be described as management by fear, intimidation, a healthy disregard for any form of authority and the liberal application of hairstyling accessories.

Then he `produced` his updated autobiography, with the imaginative title `My Autobiography.` This sold well among the fawning and the gullible and Ferguson is reported to have pocketed at least another £1 million from the proceeds.  In total it`s estimated that he has received almost £10 million since his `retirement` just under two years ago.  All good convincing stuff from a dyed in the wool Labour supporter. But there`s more.  He has agreed yet another deal for a new book, entitled Leading which promises to `analyse the pivotal leadership decisions of an astonishing career.` 

It`s an exciting prospect;  I can hardly wait because, you see, I have developed one or two disturbing habits since Ferguson`s books started appearing on the shelves of book shops, supermarkets and other outlets.  I find myself tidying the shelves, making sure the books are nice and straight but also ensuring that Ferguson`s books are placed face down, partly to avoid seeing that smug Caledonian smirk, but also in a desperately  vain attempt to discourage sales. 

But my cunning plan might be working - for example the stacks of `My Autobiography` I have seen recently have been marked down to half price, alongside the rest of the pulp fiction.  Well, as they say, every little helps.

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