Sir Alex Ferguson’s compelling story is always honest and revealing he reflects on his managerial career that embraced unprecedented European success for Aberdeen and 26 triumphant seasons with Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s best-selling autobiography has now been updated to offer reflections on events at Manchester United since his retirement as well as his teachings at the Harvard Business School, a night at the Oscars and a boat tour round the Hebrides, where he passed unrecognised.
As modern football legends, the Class of 92 need no introduction. Class of 92: Out of Their League, however, opens a dramatic new chapter in the story of former Manchester United greats Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, as they take on a new role in each of their lives: owners of semi-professional club Salford City FC.
An enthralling, in-depth account of Salford’s first two years under new ownership, Class of 92: Out of Their League combines first-hand accounts from Gary, Phil, Paul, Ryan and Nicky as they try to turn round the club’s fortunes, along with a wider story of tremendous athletic and human drama. Featuring colourful characters like managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley, star players, club chairman Karen Baird, lifelong fans, and more, this is a story told with real authenticity and grit. Accompanying the second series of the hugely popular BBC series, Class of 92: Out of Their League is both a testament to the best of modern football and a brilliant reminder, in an era when fans are threatening walkouts over rising ticket prices, of what football is really all about.
Football, and art. Eric Cantona – legend, maverick, troubled artist or just plain trouble – never saw a need to make a distinction between the two. For all the heat and noise surrounding his infamous Crystal Palace ‘kung-fu kick’, it is for the sheer exuberant beauty of his play that Eric Cantona is chiefly remembered by English football fans. At Leeds United he transformed the team into title contenders, but became a true talisman at Manchester United, where to this day fans sing of ‘King Eric’. And yet the effortless style of Cantona’s play could not hide a darker side to his temperament. In his own words, ‘I play with passion and fire. I have to accept that sometimes, this fire does harm.’
Leading French football journlist Philippe Auclair has interviewed over 200 key protagonists in Cantona’s career, searching for the man behind the myth. Marrying a deep knowledge of Cantona’s impact on the pitch with soulful, pin-sharp insight into the heart and inner thoughts of this most complex of characters, this is nothing less than the definitive biography of a one-time rebel of the French game, who rose to be the King of Old Trafford.
No player has been more synonymous with the glory years of Manchester United Football Club over the past two decades than right-back Gary Neville. An Old Trafford regular since he attended his first match at the age of six, captain of the brilliant 1992 FA Youth Cup-winning team that became known as ‘Fergie’s Fledglings’, outspoken representative of MUFC, Neville is the ultimate one-club man. He has been at the heart of it all and, at the end of an amazing career, is now ready to tell it all.
Bobby Charlton is Manchester United through and through. He was a member of the original Busby Babes and has devoted his career to the club, playing in 754 games over 17 years. During that period he won everything the game had to offer, played alongside some of the greats such as Best and Law, suffered devastating defeats and was involved in one of the greatest football tragedies of all time. Here, for the very first time, he tells the story of those United years.
With his beloved Reds he tasted FA Cup victory in the emotional final of 1963, won three first division championships and in 1968 he reached the pinnacle of club success, winning the European Cup. Inevitably, such highs are balanced with no less dramatic lows, such as the 1957 European Cup semi-final, the highly charged 1958 FA Cup loss which followed only weeks after the horrors of the Munich Air disaster, and the 1969 European Cup defeat by Milan.
One of the greatest players of all time, Duncan Edwards’s story is one of tragic heroism. From a working-class Dudley upbringing, Edwards rose to great heights at Manchester United. In only five years, he helped United to win two league championships and to reach the semi-finals of the European Cup.
Edwards made his England debut in a game against Scotland at just 18 years and 183 days. He went on to play 18 games for his country, including all four of the qualifying matches for the 1958 World Cup, in which he was expected to be a key player.
Sir Bobby Charlton has described him as ‘the only player that made me feel inferior’ and Terry Venables claimed that, had he lived, it would have been Edwards, not Bobby Moore, who would have lifted the World Cup as captain in 1966. Page-turning and poignant, author James Leighton tells a story of a magnificent sportsman and great man – the perfect contrast to the headline-grabbing footballers of today.
Manchester United and the Forgotten Victims of Munich A moving story of how a legendary football team was lost to tragedy – and how this disaster irrevocably altered the lives of the survivors and the bereaved families, and ultimately brought shame on the biggest football club in the world. The Manchester United team Matt Busby had built in the fifties from the club’s successful youth policy seemed destined to dominate football for many years. Such was the power of the ‘Busby Babes’ that they seemed invincible. The average age of the side which won the Championship in 1955-56 was just 22, the youngest ever to achieve such a feat. A year later, when they were Champions again, nothing, it seemed, would prevent this gifted young team from reigning for the next decade. But then came 6 February 1958, the day that eight Manchester United players died on a German airfield in the ‘Munich Air Disaster’ – a date to be forever etched in the annals of sporting tragedy. Duncan Edwards, Eddie Colman, Tommy Taylor, Roger Byrne…the names were already enshrined in legend before the air crash, but Munich in many ways earned them immortality. They have never grown old. Jeff Connor traces the rise of the greatest Manchester United side of all time, alongside a vibrant portrait of England in the 1950s, but he also paints a dark picture of a club that enriched itself on the myth of Munich while neglecting the families of the dead and the surviving players. The repercussions and the toll the disaster took on so many linger to the present day. Drawing on extensive interviews with the Munich victims and players of that era, The Lost Babes is the definitive account of British football’s golden age, a poignant story of the protracted effects of loss and a remorseless dissection of the how the richest football club in the world turned its back on its own players and their families.
George Best needs little introduction. A legend in his own lifetime, he is undoubtedly the greatest footballer the UK has ever produced. Blessed with an extraordinary gift he brought a beauty and grace to the game never before seen. But Best was unable to cope with the success and fame his football genius brought. His fabled story is littered with tales of women and sex and, of course, alcohol.
Much has been written about Best, but very little substantiated by the man himself. That is until George Best opened his heart and engaged us in one of the most exhilarating life stories for years, Blessed. In his own words George recounts the halcyon days at Manchester United, the big games and European Cup win of ’68. And then there’s the heartbreaking truth about the death of his mother and his struggles with alcohol that forced him to face up to a life without drink.
Blessed reveals the man behind the up-for-a-laugh, boozy, womanizing stereotype that had dogged George Best for so long. Open and honest about his mistakes, George is also incredibly candid about his triumphs, his regrets, and, only three years before his death, what he had hoped for the future.
In 1998-99, Manchester United won the Premier League, the FA Cup and Champions League – the only team to accomplish such a feat in fifty-five years of trying. Whether that makes it the finest of all time is open to debate, but what is not is the status of the season: it is, simply and incontrovertibly, the finest ever enjoyed by an English team. And yet it’s not the success that’s truly extraordinary, but the glory. The season featured astounding football, exceptional competition, staggering determination, ceaseless dramatic tension and astonishing plot twists, performed by a cast of fascinating, iconic characters. It encompassed the entire gamut of joy and narrative that makes football, sport and life so compelling. ‘The Promised Land’ relives those breathless moments on a month-by-month basis, delving into the training ground, the dressing room, into the minds of the players, management and coaches, and out onto the pitch with what was a special team, and the last of its type. Comprised of homegrown players with a smattering of northern Europeans, it was the last to truly represent and connect with its support.
When United’s Busby Babes lost to reigning European Champions Real Madrid in the 1957 European Cup, the pair seemed certain to be rivals for years. Within a year however the Munich Air Disaster had ripped apart Manchester’s pride and joy.
In the years that followed Real did more than any other club to help United recover – agreeing to stage a series of friendly matches as Real completed their now legendary five European Cup victories in a row from the inception of the tournament.
Following the Mancunian side’s recovery, the clubs met once more as United’s battled through to the 1968 European Cup semi-final.
This a unique football tale of a friendship born of tragedy and a club’s quest for redemption.