Ron Atkinson this afternoon claimed Sir Alex Ferguson’s scathing criticism of his former stars will have wounded David Beckham most.
Atkinson, whose departure from Old Trafford in 1986 triggered the events which brought Fergie to Manchester United, admits he is surprised by how open his successor has been in his book ‘Sir Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography.’
The memoirs were the talk of football today because of the pointed criticism from the manager widely regarded as the greatest in British football of the big names who helped him pile up United’s trophy haul.
Wayne Rooney, Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Mark Bosnich and many more get the treatment from Ferguson but his predecessor reckons Fergie’s view that Beckham sacrificed football greatness for celebrity fame will sting most.
“I certainly think Beckham will be more upset by what he has said than, for example, Keane,” said Atkinson. “He has always stayed loyal to Fergie and said how much he admires him.
“I am surprised how far he has gone in his criticism of some of his big hitters. He will probably be coming off one or two Christmas card lists at the moment. But it certainly makes for interesting reading.”
One of Atkinson’s former Villa stars Paul McGrath, another ex-United player, has accused Ferguson of overstepping the mark in attacking Keane.
Fergie slammed the Irishman for his departure from Old Trafford and also spoke about the ex-midfielder’s time in charge of Sunderland and Ipswich. “His two spells in management proved one thing: he needs money,” Ferguson said. “I didn’t feel Roy had the patience to build.”
And McGrath claims the Scot is forgetting how long he was given at the start of his career on the touchline.“I just think it’s overstepping the mark,” said.
Another on the receiving end of Fergie’s wrath is Owen Hargreaves – who made his final appearance for United in a Premier League clash at Molineux in 2010 lasting just five minutes against Wolves.
Hargreaves accused United and Ferguson of treating him as a “guinea pig” as he struggled to get over chronic injury problems but Fergie added: “I saw him opt for the easy choice too often.
“We did the best for that lad. No matter what the staff did for him. He created his own agenda.”