How an Arsenal fan came to revere Sir Alex
If you are anything like me, reading a good book on a lazy Sunday is one of the most enjoyable times of the week – unless you have a game to watch which in this day and age happens more often than I would like. Call me an old fart if you want but a 3pm kick off on a Saturday afternoon is what I grew up with and freely admit that I yearn for the return of those long gone days. For those who may feel the same way, Truly Reds will therefore attempt to review one of the many Manchester United related books each Sunday which may tempt you to go out an get for a relaxing weekend read.
One you may have missed is Walking in a Fergie Wonderland: The Biography by Frank Worrall simply because most of the focus in 2010 was on Football – Bloody Hell!: The Biography of Alex Ferguson by Patrick Barclay. It’s a great pity because Wonderland is a wonderful read in its own right. The author is a journalist who writes regularly for the Sunday Times and the Sun. He is also the author of number one bestseller Roy Keane: Red Man Walking, and countless football books including Rooney: Wayne’s World, Giggsy and The Magnificent Sevens.
As Arsenal supporter Ben Felsenburg explained on Amazon.co.uk after coming across the book by sheer chance “I’ll confess: I’m an Arsenal fan, and I wouldn’t ordinarily think of reading a biography of Alex Ferguson. But staying round at a friend’s house who is a lifelong United supporter, I grabbed his newly purchased copy of Walking In A Fergie Wonderland more or less at random as a bedtime read and found it so hard to put down it was only four hours later, having got to the end, that I could turn the light out.
As Worrall makes clear, Ferguson is the definitive manager of the last 30 years, the man who straddles the game in the manner of Paisley, Clough and Busby and the other titans of old, a figure of adoration for Manchester United fans and for the rest of us the worthiest of foes. Worrall outlines Ferguson’s copious achievements – multiple domestic and European glory on both sides of the border – with the full, incisive analysis they merit, spiced up with telling anecdotes of Robson, Giggs, Cantona, Rooney and the United boss’s other loyal troops.
This is a proper football book, focused on the game and the players’ activities on the pitch because true fans don’t want any of that peripheral celebrity gossip. It’s clear that Worrall has the insider’s connections and expert insight and he tells Ferguson’s incredible story with compelling simplicity and an empathetic feel for the Scotsman’s extraordinary character.
In short, it’s an unmissable read for Manchester United fans but there’s also plenty here to interest anyone with the slightest interest in football in the modern age. It won’t stop me cheering Arsenal on just as loudly next time they play Ferguson’s men, but I’ll understand the reverence United fans feel for their hero and saviour much more.”
It’s certainly refreshing to find a fan of one of United’s fiercest rivals being so fulsome in his acclaim for Sir Alex so it may say something about his story as told by the author. Who knows, I may come across a similar biography of Arsene Wenger one day which may prompt me to acquire the same admiration for him.
Is it really so difficult to show your admiration for a rival player or manager?