Hodder splash the cash as Sir Alex Ferguson puts final touches to new autobiography they hope will take no prisoners

Sir Alex Ferguson was not known for shying away from confrontation during his reign as Manchester United's manager and anyone who offended him by deed or word tended sooner or later to feel the hot blast of his wrath.

Yet even he would acknowledge the need to bow to diplomacy at certain times, while the threat of fines or sanctions from the Football Association persuaded him to bite his tongue on others.

Now that he is no longer an active manager, however, Fergie is free to let rip against anyone who has incurred his displeasure without fear of the consequences.  Publishers Hodder and Stoughton clearly hope he take his retirement as the cue to release the shackles - they have paid him an advance of £2 million, according to reports, to reveal all in a new autobiography to be published in the autumn.

Sir Alex verbally agreed to write the book three years ago and Daily Telegraph journalist Paul Hayward is the man entrusted with faithfully reproducing Fergie's views on a range of subjects.  The former Manchester United boss penned his first authorised life story Managing My Life: The Autobiography, ghosted by Hugh McIlvanney, in the treble year of 1999.

But much more has happened in the 14 years since then, including his seven-year stand-off with the BBC after they ran a documentary about his football agent son Jason, the split with David Beckham, the explosive dispute with racing tycoons John Magnier and JP McManus over Rock of Gibraltar’s breeding rights, the arrival at Old Trafford of the Glazers and his relationship with Wayne Rooney.  Buyers will be disappointed if those episodes are not covered in detail.

Sir Alex's treatment of Rooney since leaving him out of the Champions League tie against Real Madrid has been one of the mysteries of the season.

The Fergie Collection - five recommended books about the man acknowledged as football's greatest manager:

Sir Alex Ferguson: The Official Manchester United Celebration of 25 Years at Old Trafford, by David Meek and Tom Tyrell

Managing My Life: The Autobiography

Football - Bloody Hell!: The Biography of Alex Ferguson, by Patrick Barclay

This Is the One: Sir Alex Ferguson: The Uncut Story of a Football Genius, by Daniel Taylor

The Boss: The Many Sides of Alex Ferguson, by Michael Crick


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