I’ve been a Manchester United fan all my life and went to my first game in 1990 when I was 10. Since then I’ve been hooked! I’ve read most of the Autobiographies and books about Manchester United and there are some outstanding reads that any true United fan should have read. Here’s the best 5 books I’ve read, 4 are autobiographies and one is a biography thats well worth reading.
No 1 – My Story – Paul Scholes
In my opinion the best midfielder that has ever played in the Premier League, an absolute privilege to watch. Unlike the modern footballer Scholes was near one crave the lime light which is one of the reasons this book is so good. It’s not just a case of re telling things that have happened at the club its in insight into one of the quietest world class footballers of his generation.
The book charts Scholes rise as a part of the Class on 92 from a young boy all the way to winning the European Cup twice. A true legend of Manchester United and the best autobiography you’ll read.
For me Scholes book was a read from cover to cover in a few days, I could not put it down. Released in 2011 it was widely applauded for the quality of book that it is. This book must be on the shelf of every United fan. Since his role has moved into the media we’re seeing a lot more of Scholes than we ever did.
No 2 – Forever young – The story of Adrian Doherty
This book was one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. It was written by Times football correspondent Oliver Kay and charts the story of footballs lost genius Adrian Doherty. If you don’t know the name its because he never quite made it at Manchester United due to injury but was regarded as the best player thats ever been in the youth team. Ryan Giggs described him as “Incredible” and people say he was better than Giggs.
He was a young lad that was in love with music as much as football and used to give away his free tickets to matches and busking with his guitar instead. A team mate described him as Bob Dylan in a number 7 shirt.
Tragically Doherty lost his life in a canal in Holland aged 26 and this is the first time his family agreed to have his story told in this book. It is a truly fantastic book by Kay and leaves you wondering what could have been had it not been for his injury.
No 3 – Alex Ferguson – My Autobiography
A book any self respecting fan should own, the greatest manager in English football history tells his story. Covering over 20 years as a manager this is the story of one of the greatest periods of success the club have ever had.
Fergie also has a couple of other books if you want the full set!
- Leading by Alex Ferguson – An in depth look at what made Sir Alex such a great leader over such a long period. How he motivated the players and dealt with their disappointments.
- Managing My Life: My Autobiography – His first autobiography from 1999, written after the treble success it focuses more on that and the early years of his career.
As a United fan you’re well aware of the major points in his career but this gives you a different perspective to look at. The 3 Fergie books read together are an incredible insight into the mind of Sir Alex.
No 4 – Roy Keane
Roy Keane was everything a footballer should be and capable of dragging an entire team along with him (Juventus away 1999 is the classic example). He didn’t hold back on the pitch and he certainly didn’t hold back in his book! This is ablow by blow book about his career and an absolute page turner. This was published back in 2003 and cause a great controversy at the time with some of the revelations in the book. As far as United autobiographies go this is one of the most explosive you’ll find!
This book was later followed by Roy Keane: The Second Half which covers the later part of his career. Here’s the man himself with a quite fantastic beard promoting the second half.
Keane seems to have used both books to settle some old scores and set the record straight with his opinions. Things covered in the two books include
- The tackle on Alf Inge Haaland that ended the Manchester City players career.
- Falling out with the young players at Manchester United as he wasn’t happy with the desire on show.
- Storming out of training for the World Cup after a row over the training facilities.
And loads more. It’s well worth reading both of these books to cover his whole career, I’m sure he’ll do one more before his career is over to settle some more scores in his usual typically outspoken manner.
No 5 – Sir Bobby Charlton
What a book! For the older fans this is probably the best autobiography of any Manchester United player. Sir Bobby is a club legend who’s still seen at almost every game, home or away and has only recently been replaced as the top scorer in the clubs history by Wayne Rooney. As well as being a United legend Sir Bobby also won the world cup with England in 1966. This is a truly fantastic read about a player who played as a true gent throughput his career in the days before football turned into a money making machine.
There are also a couple of other books by Sir Bobby that pre date this one, including a sepcific one about the 1966 work cup (See here :1966: My World Cup Story)
In 2017 Sir Bobby turned 80 and the BBC made a special documentary about him, it was a fantastic insight from the man himself – You can see it on the BBC website here if you haven’t already watched it.
That ends my personal top 5 Manchester United books but I’ll keep reading as they come out and update if there’s any worthy of the top 5!