You Are Either with Fergie or against Him; ALEX'S UNEASY RELATIONSHIP WITH MEDIA
THE interview finished and the tape recorder was switched off. That's when the invective started from Sir Alex Ferguson.
He wasn't happy at a review I'd given his autobiography and didn't waste any time telling me.
I stood by my every word of a positive review, but didn't have chance to speak. Ferguson was doing the talking about a foot from my face and I was doing the listening. When he finished, I was about to address his points. He didn't give me time.
"Anyway, son, good to see you again," he said, before offering his hand. "Do you want a picture?" I took a photo and he was gone, off to run Britain's biggest football club. It was 8am.
He'd asserted his control with a few verbal jabs and I was too stunned, too slow to respond. 1-0 Ferguson, three easy points.
It was a long way from when he'd written me a letter saying that while he wasn't a fan of fanzines, he enjoyed United We Stand and would be up for an interview, but the whole thing didn't trouble me.
That's how the manager was, that's how he is. 'He Daily Mark week had correctly Ferdinand Another book got a different writer in trouble a few years later. Daniel Taylor of the Guardian wrote a largely positive book about Ferguson covering two very different seasons at United, 2005-06 and 2006-07. Ferguson got someone else to read the book. That person gave an accurate review of a positive spin, but Ferguson has banned Taylor from any United press conferences since.
In Ferguson's eyes, Taylor had hatched the idea for the book following the controversial Glazer takeover and set out to chronicle United's decline. It was that perceived intent which sparked the ban. With Ferguson, you're either with him or you're against him - and that applies to the media who have to cover events objectively, even if they contain news which Ferguson doesn't like. That's the difference between free speech and a democratic press rather than, say, the controlled output of an in-house media, the difference between public relations/marketing against journalism.
United are comfortable with that: as one MUFC official told me: "You wouldn't expect to read criticisms of Tesco in Tesco's in-store magazine. …