Monday 23 October 2017

Alex Ferguson book: Jaap Stam to Roma? 45 factual inaccuracies lead to publishers offering a refund

Alex Ferguson pictured launching his new book, Alex Ferguson, My Autobiography at the National Convention Centre in Dublin
Alex Ferguson pictured launching his new book, Alex Ferguson, My Autobiography at the National Convention Centre in Dublin

James Orr

After eagle-eyed readers noticed errors in Alex Ferguson's autobiography, one customer who complained has been offered a full refund from publishers Hodder and Stoughton.

45 factual inaccuracies were found in the 402-page book, including the age of Ryan Giggs when he made his debut, plus the year Ferguson had his pacemaker fitted.

My Autobiography, which came out last month and has since become the UK’s fastest-selling non-fiction book ever, selling 115,547 copies in its first week on sale. But can the tome now be classed as a work of fiction?

It has been reported that Hodder and Stoughton CEO Jamie Hodder-Williams has replied by email to one customer who complained, offering a full refund in exchange for the return of the book.

Mr Hodder-Williams wrote: “We did in fact go through several stages of fact-checking with this book, with a reading from within Manchester United as well as from a specialist football fact-checker.

“Although a very large number of corrections were made we plainly did not pick up everything.

“Possible corrections that have so far been helpfully pointed out are being checked and will be included in future reprints.

“I am sorry that you feel that your expenditure on the book was not worthwhile. If you would like to send the book to me at our head office address, stating where you bought the book and at what price, we will refund your expenditure and postage.”

Included among the 45 inaccuracies are the age of Giggs when he made his Manchester United debut – the book says the Welshman was 16, when in fact he was 17.

Other errors which have made the cut are the years that Roy Keane served with the club – Ferguson said it was 11, but it was 12, the year United became a Plc – 1990 not 1991, the year he got his pacemaker fitted – it was 2004, not 2002, and even who he sold Dutch defender Jaap Stam to – the manager said it was Roma, but it was actually Lazio.


Stam, Giggs, and Keane - here's the best of the worst

“…transfer of Jaap Stam to Roma and Massimo Taibi to Reggina”

- Jaap Stam moved to Lazio, Taibi did, however, move to Reggina

"Awarding him with his first-team debut at 16 landed us with a problem we had not expected: the Giggs phenomenon.”

- Ryan Giggs was in fact 17 when he made his Manchester United debut

“We had 11 years out of Roy,”

- Roy Keane played for Manchester United for over 12 years

Rio Ferdinand excelled against Manchester City in the semi-final second leg [of the Carling Cup] in 2009 at Old Trafford

- This match was in 2010, not 2009

- Ferguson claimed in the book to have had his pacemaker fitted in 2002, but the procedure was done in 2004

“From the moment Manchester United became a Plc in 1990”

- Manchester United became a public limited company in 1991

“[Wayne Rooney] was then picked by Sven-Goran Eriksson for the vital World Cup qualifier against Turkey"

- The match in question, Rooney’s first England start was a Euro, not World Cup qualifier

“The penultimate Chelsea kick, which Salomon Kalou took, when Edwin dived to his left...”

- In the Champions League final in 2008, Edwin van der Sar dived to his right for Kalou’s successful penalty



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