Sir Alex Ferguson has turned on his famous hairdryer one last time in his new autobiography – and Roy Keane is the main man in the firing line.
Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography will be released to the public on Thursday but its press launch has sent shockwaves through the football world.
Many feel the wrath of the Scot inside its pages, but the harshest criticism is reserved for Keane, prompting him to hit back at his former manager.
Ferguson delivers a savage, stinging attack on the former captain, describing the fallout from his infamous MUTV interview in which Keane slated his teammates.
“The hardest part of Roy’s body is his tongue,” Ferguson writes.
“Roy was taking them all down.”
Ferguson explains how he made the whole squad watch the MUTV interview sparking fights between Keane and Dutchmen Edwin van der Sar and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
“It was frightening to watch and I’m from Glasgow,” writes Ferguson.
“In one deep sense him leaving was the best thing that could have happened because a lot of players were intimidated by him.”
Ferguson describes how he saw Keane’s behaviour change as his form declined with age.
“He thought he was Peter Pan,” writes Ferguson.
Keane was given a platform to respond on TV last night and though he insisted he wasn’t bothered, couldn’t resist the chance to bite back at his former boss.
“I do remember having conversations with the manager when I was at the club about loyalty,” Keane said on ITV.
“In my opinion he doesn’t know the meaning of the word. I just don’t think the manager needs to do it.
“We brought success to the club, we gave it everything we had when we were there. I’m quite relaxed about it. I certainly won’t be losing any sleep over it.”
Keane was not the only former star Ferguson turns his fire on in the new book.
David Beckham is criticised over his exit from United as Ferguson insists he had to leave the club.
“The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager, he had to go,” Ferguson writes.
“David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson. That was the death knell for him.
“David was the only player I managed who chose to be famous. I felt uncomfortable with the celebrity aspect of his life.”
Ferguson also reaffirms his stance that Wayne Rooney requested to leave the club at the end of last season, saying he ‘asked away’.
The Scot praises Rooney’s abilities and accomplishments but questions the strikers’ fitness and whether he is a quick learner.
Criticism is not reserved for his own team however, with Rafa Benitez one of those coming under a significant barrage.
The pair had a well-documented running feud when the Spaniard was at Liverpool, a feud which Ferguson has continued in the book.
“The mistake he made was to turn our rivalry personal,” writes Ferguson.
“Once you made it personal you had no chance. I had success on my side.”
The autobiography is possibly the most anticipated sports book ever published.
Here is a selection of what else Ferguson says in the book.
On Pizzagate: Ferguson insists that he does not know who covered him in pizza in the tunnel against Arsenal in 2004, though was told it was Cesc Fabregas.
On the FA and Referees: The FA are accused of attacking high-profile targets such as Manchester United to gain public approval. Ferguson also slams referees as unfit and ‘as a group not doing as well as they should be’.
On Manchester City: Ferguson devotes a chapter to City’s title winning campaign saying he couldn’t retire until he had usurped them.
On Cristiano Ronaldo: He labels the Portuguese as ‘the most gifted player I managed’.
On Rooney wanting Ozil at United: Ferguson told Rooney it was ‘none of his business’ when the striker told his manager to sign Mesut Ozil from Werder Bremen.
On the Rock of Gibraltar issue: Notably very little is said. Just a couple of paragraphs are devoted to his bitter dispute with Magnier and JP McManus.
Main image courtesy of The Sport Review and James FJ Rooney, with thanks.