Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: Ferguson & United

This entry is part 90 of 104 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

I have a horrible feeling that, in one of these blogs, I’ve already spoken about both my support for United and my relationship with football.

It can’t have been concerning a Manchester United book, because I’m (pretty) sure I’ve only read three and all of them I’m reviewing today.

However, as you’ll know, maybe, I have read a good few books that are football related (Harry Redknapp, Brian Clough, Pele, Brian Moore, Soccernomics and at least one more) and am sure in at least one I’ve spoken of the above. Though, as I can’t remember which I can’t direct you there.

To recap, until 2010, when I went off to University, I had little interest in football.

The main reason for this, I think, is that my parents don’t like football, so we never had any of the channels with which I might have watched it when I was growing up, though I did always watch the World Cups and Euros.

This changed when I went to University. I began watching games and very quickly became obsessed. Until I met Fay, I would often watch football every night of the week, all Saturday and all Sunday.

The weird thing is there was never any question over who I would support.

As a kid my favourite colour was red, and my favourite player was David Beckham, so even though I didn’t care about football, I decided I supported Manchester United.

Over the years this choice festered until, when I got into football eight years ago, there was a strong, unbreakable loyalty. I love this club even more than I love Eastenders.

And that’s a lot.

So it makes sense that I have a History of Manchester United book on my shelf plus a Sir Alex biography and the second Sir Alex autobiography. And it was those I have read for my challenge.


A History of Manchester United

Let’s be honest, no one is going to be interested in this book unless they are a Manchester United fans, and even most of them wouldn’t find it interesting.

It is a complete picture of Manchester United from conception to around 2011, and my biggest take away from it was that it was a nightmare to read in bed, given it was the size of a small table.

It was intriguing enough, but I think you’d have to have a real burning interest in the history of this club for you to even go near it, and even then, you’d probably want to pick and choose certain bits, rather than read it cover to cover as I did.


The Ferguson books

File photo dated 12-05-1996 of Sir Alex Ferguson. Sir Alex Ferguson has undergone emergency surgery today for a brain haemorrhage, his former club Manchester United have announced. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday May 5, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Ferguson. Photo credit should read Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

More interesting, and with more general appeal, are the books about Sir Alex.

If you’re not a football fan, I’d steer clear, but there is plenty of interest for anyone who is, whether you’re a Manchester United fan or not, as there is always interest to be found in seeing how one of the most successful managers of all time worked across his career.

Both are interesting. Both well written and easy to consume. But, if I were to pick just one to recommend, it would be the autobiography.

This is partly because it covers the entirety of Ferguson’s career to the end of his time at Manchester United (Barkley’s book stops a couple of seasons earlier), but mainly because I think it is far more interest to be had listening to the story from the horse’s mouth.

Of course, there will always be issues of bias, but Sir Alex is a pretty upfront man, and certainly seems to hold no bars when discussing the various aspects of his career, including such controversial topics as the Roy Keane incident. Besides, it can’t be denied that he’s been around for more of his life than Patrick Barclay has.


Next Time

Next Up we have the book Sirens, a collection of blog articles by a paramedic which went on to be an excellent Channel Four TV show which was then cancelled ruining my life.

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International worst selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). Recently he is taking the internet by storm with his Man vs Bookshelf Challenge where he aims to read the 210 books on his bookshelf in 210 weeks, reviewing them on his blog and Goodreads along the way. He is also publishing books on Amazon, his most recent being the family suspense novel, Poor Choices, which you can find here.

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