Read Football – Bloody Hell! Online

Authors: Patrick Barclay

Football – Bloody Hell!

Also by Patrick Barclay
Mourinho: Anatomy of a Winner
The Biography of Alex Ferguson
Patrick Barclay
Yellow Jersey Press
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Epub ISBN: 9781407084718
Version 1.0
Published by Yellow Jersey Press 2010
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Copyright © Patrick Barclay 2010
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Extracts from
The Blair Years
by Alastair Campbell (Hutchinson, 2007)
First published in Great Britain in 2010 by
Yellow Jersey Press
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To The Moon
List of Illustrations
  1.  Alex Ferguson reading the headlines (Offside); Dunfermline Athletic (Offside)
  2.  Rangers manager Scot Symon with his assistant manager David White; Rangers’ Alex Ferguson looks innocent while Celtic’s Billy McNeill is injured on the floor (both PA Photos); Ferguson takes on Billy McNeill (Colorsport)
  3.  Ferguson at Falkirk (Offside)
  4.  Ferguson with his family, 1977 (Getty Images); Ferguson at the industrial tribunal, 1978 (Press Association)
  5.  Aberdeen celebrate winning the league in 1980; Gordon Strachan celebrates scoring in the 1982 Scottish Cup final (both PA Photos)
  6.  Aberdeen’s Mark McGhee during the 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final against Real Madrid (Colorsport); Patrick Barclay, Gordon Simpson and Gerry McNee (courtesy of the author)
  7.  Ferguson on open-top bus shows off the European Cup Winners’ Cup trophy (Offside); Aberdeen line up for the 1983 Scottish Cup final
  8.  Jock Stein with Ferguson (PA Photos); Scotland team for World Cup match with Denmark; Graeme Souness (both Getty Images)
  9.  Martin Edwards at a press conference with Alex Ferguson (PA Photos); Bryan Robson; Norman Whiteside (both Colorsport); Paul McGrath (Getty Images)
10.  Mark Robins celebrates (PA Photos); Lee Martin scores the winning goal in the 1990 FA Cup final; Les Sealey and Ferguson celebrate winning the 1990 FA Cup (both Getty Images)
11.  Mark Hughes scores against Barcelona in the 1991 European Cup Winners Cup final (Colorsport); Hughes celebrates winning the trophy (Getty Images)
12.  Brian McClair, Steve Bruce, Dennis Irwin, Hughes and Mike Phelan hold the FA Premiership trophy, 1993 (Getty Images); Eric Cantona (PA Photos); Manchester United celebrate Cantona’s goal in the 1994 FA Cup final (Getty Images)
13. Eric Cantona scores in the 1996 FA Cup final (PA Photos); Ferguson with the FA Cup and the Premiership trophy (Getty Images)
14. Teddy Sheringham celebrates scoring in the Champions League final (PA Photos); Ole Gunnar Solskjær scores against Bayern Munich (Colorsport)
15.  Teddy Sheringham and David Beckham with the Champions League trophy (Getty Images); Ferguson with the Champions League trophy (PA Photos)
16.  David Beckham (PA Photos); David Beckham and Juan Sebastián Verón; David and Victoria Beckham (both Getty Images)
17.  Ferguson and Alastair Campbell (Getty Images); Jason Ferguson; John Magnier; Rock of Gibraltar (all PA Photos)
18.  Kenny Dalglish (PA Photos); George Graham (Getty Images); Ferguson and Kevin Keegan (PA Photos)
19.  Jose Mourinho (PA Photos); Arsene Wenger and Carlos Quieroz (Getty Images); Rafael Benítez (PA Photos)
20.  Roy Keane (PA Photos); Jaap Stam (Getty Images); Ruud van Nistel-rooy (PA Photos)
21.  Cristiano Ronaldo takes on Porto; Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring against Dynamo Kiev (both Getty Images)
22.  Ronaldo scores in the 2008 Champions League final (Getty Images); John Terry misses penalty; John Terry is inconsolable (both PA Photos)
23.  Ronaldo celebrates with Champions League trophy (Colorsport); Alex Ferguson with the Champions League trophy (Getty Images)
24.  Malcolm Glazer; Vendor selling scarves (both PA Photos); Manchester United team to face Bayern Munich in the 2010 Champions League quarter-final
Among the Idiots
he winds from the North Sea still howled at the back wall of the Beach End, which didn’t even blink. The Beach End had seen all this before, night after black night. The Beach End: although the most exposed part of Aberdeen Football Club’s Pittodrie Stadium is accurately named, it is fair to add that neither Malibu nor Manly need fear for its place in the hierarchy of balmy suburban strands.
The winds still howled, but the noise of the crowd had long since ceased. All 24,000 paying spectators had drifted back up Merkland Road towards the city centre, the autograph hunters and their parents being the last as usual, and it was left to the journalists, the game’s diligent janitors, to sweep up what was left of an Under-21 international match between Scotland and England, a quarter-final of the European Under-21 Championship which had ended goalless, eliminating the Scots because they had lost the first leg at Coventry.
The earnest Alex McLeish on his home ground, the mournful Steve Archibald, a fresh-faced Alan Brazil – all had had their expressions of regret dutifully sought. The triumphant English, whose ranks featured such giants in the making as Terry Butcher and Glenn Hoddle, had tried not to look too superior as they assessed their chances of going all the way and taking the European title that spring. But naturally they exuded optimism (it proved excessive, because they were beaten home and away by East Germany in the next round). For football journalists it is a familiar routine – our rite of passage to bed or bar – and on this March night in 1980 the little group of travellers from England, having assessed the so-called ‘quotes’, adapted them for publication and telephoned the consensus of import to their offices in London (transmission by laptop computer had yet to be introduced), duly spilled out on to the dark thoroughfare in search of comfort.
At that moment the headlights of a sleek saloon, easing itself out of Pittodrie’s official car park, obligingly swivelled to point them up Merkland Road. The driver-side window rolled down, revealing the face of Alex Ferguson.

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