Terrible Manchester United tribute: Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘absorbing, rhapsodic, infectious, enormous smile’ would surely make him puke
WHEN Alex Ferguson retired as Manchester United manager, The Guardian’s Daniel Harris put pen to paper:
…his retirement is a loss not only to those with an affiliation to United, but to almost all who share the football obsession – even supporters of his club’s greatest rivals will feel differently in his absence. This is because Fergie is never boring; he never lets us forget that we’re alive, because he never forgets that he is.
And this gift extends far beyond football. He has a majestic turn of phrase, a wide and deep range of interests, and perhaps the most absorbing, rhapsodic, infectious, enormous smile in the history of faces. No one enjoys joy quite like him, and this, above all else, is his eternal lesson: the buzz of being alive is a good one; be damn sure to make the most of it.
Wonder how that goes down with The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor, who wrote This Is the One: Sir Alex Ferguson: The Uncut Story of a Football Genius? Ferguson liked the book so much he saw to it that Taylor was banned from Manchester United press conferences for four years.
In 2011, Taylor spoke about that to The Republic of Mancunia:
Daniel Taylor: He has never read it. He asked his press officer to read it on his behalf and the press officer delivered him a report which basically says ‘no problems whatsoever.’ But I guess Fergie’s Fergie isn’t he? He banned me anyway and, once that happens, you try changing his mind… I emailed the club to say the book was being re-released for his anniversary and when they got round to telling him he went potty apparently. It’s all a bit strange.
And here’s a tip:
STR: What advice would you give to a journo attending his first Fergie press conference?
DT: It’s always quite amusing seeing a newbie trying to get ‘in’ with him. You can shake his hand, introduce yourself, wear your best suit, the lot – he will just look straight through you and, to be honest, if you’re under the age of 50, he really doesn’t want to know. It’s a trust thing. He’s suspicious of faces he doesn’t know, especially if they have a southern accent (“another one from London coming up here to make his fucking name”). The best thing a new journalist can do is sit there quietly and learn what is, and what is not, accepted. Because the ‘rules’ are complex and if you don’t know them you won’t last long.
Now. About that absorbing, rhapsodic, infectious, enormous smile, Sir Alex…