“Fergie’s Fledglings” is a book – part anthology, part encyclopedia – which was released in early 2014 documenting the evolution of the most successful youth system in British football history.
Twenty players who were brought up through the Manchester United youth team have, for the first time, shared their story of how Sir Alex Ferguson and his staff created the most prolific conveyor belt of home grown and developed talent in British history.
How Sir Alex changed the club and its approach to the development of youngsters is explained in detail by those who were at United at the time, with a fascinating insight into the personal development of the famous ‘class of 92′. We learn how Ferguson was a visionary ahead of his time and how he set the standard and example for schooling both the personal and professional maturity of his young players. The players describe in great detail how Ferguson dealt with the colossal changes in the sport and remained ahead of his peers when it came to bringing through youngsters.
As well as being the most in-depth chronicle of the Ferguson reign in its entirety, “Fergie’s Fledglings’ takes a look at the autobiographical accounts of the players, who share their stories of success and tragedy. Tony Gill and Jules Maiorana put their stories on record in never before told, all-on-the table accounts. Kevin Pilkington and Chris Casper give a fascinating insight into the character required to succeed at United, while Danny Higginbotham and Phil Marsh lift the lid on the personal lengths Ferguson went to to protect his young stars. Bojan Djordjic and Markus Neumayr share the struggle of being a young foreign star expected to follow in the footsteps of club legends while Ben Amos reveals the kind of character at Manchester United that enabled the club to be so successful for so long.
The players in complete are – Tony Gill, Deiniol Graham, Alan Tonge, Russell Beardsmore, Mike Pollitt, Jules Maiorana, Chris Casper, Kevin Pilkington, Ben Thornley, John Curtis, Alex Notman, Nick Culkin, Danny Higginbotham, Bojan Djordjic, Lee Lawrence, Adam Eckersley, Phil Marsh, Markus Neumayr, Sam Hewson and Ben Amos. The anthology doesn’t stop there, as it evolves into an encyclopedia – every single reserve team fixture and FA Youth Cup game from Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign is included in ‘Fergie’s Fledglings’, making it the most comprehensive, complete and in-depth statistical resource of its kind, and a must for any avid supporter of Manchester United.
Below are the thoughts of a number of journalists, broadcasters and some of the featured players on the book “Fergie’s Fledglings.”
“No other football club in the world has a more productive conveyor belt of young talent than Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson was at the heart of it all and now we hear the stories about what it was really like for Fergie’s Fledglings. A vibrant book and an essential for any supporter of England’s most successful club.”
Daniel Taylor, Chief Football Writer, The Guardian
“United supporters will love this book. Everyone knows the stories of Beckham, Giggs, Scholes and the Nevilles. This is the fascinating and extremely well researched story of some of those who did not quite make the grade at Old Trafford. The chapter on Jules Maiorana is particularly compelling.”
Oliver Kay, Chief Football Correspondent, The Times
“Here are twenty soil samples from a fertile land where elite footballers emerge. Each with a little Manchester United glitz and each offering a glance into football’s shadows. This is about those chosen for a shot at stardom with United’s Academy, nurtured by Sir Alex Ferguson but who did not turn out to be the next Ryan Giggs.
Not everyone can be the next Ryan Giggs, unfortunately. If they could, Ryan Giggs wouldn’t be Ryan Giggs. Some of them have to be Deiniol Graham and some of them have to be Markus Neumayr and some of them find life is better without United and some of them find it hard to escape its immense presence.
These are their forgotten stories from the unforgiving youth system of the world’s biggest club and this is a rare journey into the grass roots of the empire Fergie built. Thorough and lovingly crafted and not only for United devotees.”
Matt Barlow, Football Correspondent, Daily Mail
“‘Fergie’s Fledglings’ is not just fascinating in its detail and research, but also in the approach and openness from those who helped forge – and it could be argued saved – Fergie’s early days as Manchester United manager. These are the stories of a system restored by Sir Alex, inspired by Matt Busby and though some not household names, their tales of their moment, and the system itself are a unique take on young life at the biggest club in the world. Proud of their opportunity, this book is a great read about the rollercoaster experiences of gifted youngsters trying to make their way at Manchester United. I really enjoyed it and it’s gone right on my favourites MUFC bookshelf’.”
‘Fergie’s Fledglings is not just fascinating in its detail and research, but also in the approach and openness from those who helped forge – and it could be argued saved – Fergie’s early days as Manchester United manager. These are the stories of a system restored by Sir Alex, inspired by Matt Busby and though some not household names, their tales of their moment, and the system itself are a unique take on young life at the biggest club in the world. Proud of their opportunity, this book is a great read about the rollercoaster experiences of gifted youngsters trying to make their way at Manchester United. I really enjoyed it and it’s gone right on my favourites MUFC bookshelf’.”
Barney Chilton, Editor of Red News Fanzine
Details on how to order signed copies may appear here periodically.