If this reported extract from his book happened to be correct, Sir Alex Ferguson has taken a mild pop at Sunderland, its fans and their ‘ideas above their station’ aspirations. In the absence of the slightest sign that it is genuine, however, we should assume for now that it is a hoax, albeit a fairly clever one, perpetrated by a Mag mischief-maker …
Not sure about others, but I would sooner be a supporter of Sunderland AFC, which warts and all is a proper football club, than Manchester United, for whom I have respect and even some historic fondness but is really no more than a global brand a little like Coca-Cola or Wall-Mart.
Its “supporters” expect as of right to win each game, each competition; many of the billion or more who would describe themselves as such haven’t the faintest idea where Manchester is and will as passionately declare allegiance to Citeh or Chelsea or Arsenal a year or two from now if United’s present decline persists.
We get the odd high, lots of lows. They get highs and not-quite-so-highs.
So we should neither care nor be surprised too much to see these comments about SAFC attributed to Sir Alex Ferguson, a supremely successful manager whose many admirable qualities strongly mitigate his less appealing traits as an arrogant, cantakerous, ungracious and sometimes unsporting man.
I pass on those comments for your own amusement or stimulation, as you prefer. They were said by a Toon fan site to have come from his forthcoming autobiography, which has the riveting title – and this is absolutely genuine – of My Autobiography, and came to my attention at the Blackcats e-mail list.
But there has been growing suspicion that the quotes are a spoof and appear nowhere in the book. I have so far failed to locate them except on Sunderland and Newcastle fan sites; if anyone can point the right way, that would be appreciated, but the strongest likelihood is that we are dealing with a fake, albeit one that merits repetition …
I had good relationships with most other clubs but none more so than with Sunderland. At least until the last five years of my career.
We’d give them good deals on our fringe players or ageing players, and in return they’d take some of our youngsters on loan give them Premier League experience.
Unfortunately they got greedy in asking for Scholesy when he still had a couple of years left in him. I was never going to agree to that, but they didn’t take the hint and came back in every transfer window, mainly because their fans “wanted” him.
They’re an odd lot let me tell you; ideas above their station yet supporting a team who are nothing more than a hindrance even when at their best under Peter Reid.
In the end I pacified them by offloading Brown and O’Shea – both good servants but past their sell by date in my mind. Both injury prone and liable to make mistakes. Still, they were good enough to do a job in a poor team.’
* My Autobiography is available via the Salut! Sunderland Amazon link – http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0340919396/salusund-21 – at a knockdown £11.25, less than half the recommended retail price
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