By Eugene McCusker
- Available in paperback and on kindle
Firstly let me commend the author on the amount of research he has carried out. This book works as a historical record and maybe a further introduction to Manchester United for the millennials generation.
However for diehard fans and I have been a fan since 1981 I want to be enlightened. The newbies who follow the reds will look on and be curious, some of us want new angles.
That’s not to say that there are not points that do get my eyebrow raised. One of the early ones is Sir Alex’s interest in Mick Hartford. The thin margins in football matter, and the blooding of the youth a la Lee Sharpe and Mark Robins making similar debuts was also something new.
We enjoy the asides but certain things could be explored more and I am not on about scores or scorers. For instance the author points out that Sir Alex instructed his chairman to enquire about Cantona’s availability. Most football folklore has this down as Sir Alex speaking at a tangent to Howard at Leeds and asking about Eric.
One thing the book does confirm is that Sir Alex was not afraid to break the British transfer record, maybe its that gambler instinct, thankfully he didn’t let Keith Gillespie do all his gambling.
Breaking a transfer record for goalkeeper Barthez didn’t really work out. It’s okay to mention those that didn’t work out. As united managers since Sir Alex have found to their cost it’s not just a case of buying success.
I was interested in things like Schmeichel’s last game being the European Cup final in 99 and even Giggs and Ferdinand lifting the trophy in 2008.
The author should not be afraid to show more imagination, maybe combine points like these two in a look at the captaincy figure. Compare a Robson and a Keane, Fergie on the pitch. It’s not just all about this happened and then this happened. The newbies may like that, the oldies like me want something different.
I liked points like Solskjaer having the knee problems and Van Persie wearing number 20 because he was aiming to help united win a 20th title.
I just feel parts like Sir Alex and David Gill coming out in support of the glazers and even the 2008 European win 50 years after Munich could be looked at in more depth. Maybe even give us a piece on Darren Ferguson.
Its interesting to look back even in the latter years to the arrival of David de Gea in 2011 and the 11 point margin of the title win in 2013. For the long term fan though they can recall a lot of the games.
I remember where I was and what was going on in my life at certain game times, the author could maybe relate this to their own life. Sometimes you can combine the personal and a love of football, ask Nick Hornby. But I admire the research.