The book was due to be unveiled on Thursday but some over-eager shelf-stackers in a Tesco supermarket in the Manchester suburb of Burnage managed to fill their shelves three days too early.
The store was soon made aware of its mistake, but of course that came after the book had already landed in the arms of the press pack. Cue an evening of revelations from said book.
Here is a round up of some of the more explosive quotes to have hit the web.
On Class of 92: United’s famous 1992 Youth Cup-winning team, which included the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville: “The ‘Class of ’92’ — all good players, but their role at the club has become exaggerated. The ‘Class of ’92’ seems to have grown its own legs; it has become a brand. It’s as if they were a team away from the team, and they’re not shy of plugging into it. But we all had the same aims — we all had the hunger.”
On Paul Scholes: “Scholesy was a top, top player. But I still don’t fall for that boy-next-door image, or that he’s dead humble. He has more of an edge to him. Everyone thinks he lives in a council flat.”
On a bust-up with Peter Schmeichel: “I had a bust-up with Peter when we were on a preseason tour of Asia, in 1998, just after I came back from my cruciate injury. I think we were in Hong Kong. There was drink involved. There’d been a little bit of tension between us over the years, for football reasons.
“There was a lot of noise — Peter’s a big lad. I woke up the next morning. I kind of vaguely remembered the fight. My hand was really sore and one of my fingers was bent backwards.
“It started coming back to me — the fight between me and Peter. Nicky Butt had been filling me in on what had happened the night before. Butty had refereed the fight. Anyway, Peter had grabbed me, I’d head-butted him — we’d been fighting for ages.
“At the press conference, Peter took his sunglasses off. He had a black eye. The questions came at him: ‘Peter, what happened to your eye?’
“He [Sir Alex Ferguson] told us that we were a disgrace to the club, and that we’d woken Bobby Charlton up, that Bobby had come out of his room and seen us.
“Peter took responsibility for the fight, which was good. I admired him for it. But Sir Bobby could have tried to break it up.”
On the Arsenal tunnel fight: “As I walked to the front I heard something going on at the top of the tunnel. All I could see was a few fingers, pointing at Gary [Neville]. I lost it. Five seconds earlier I’d been perfectly calm, in the zone, ready for the match.
“I’d thought they might have booted him out on the pitch. But in the tunnel? I just thought ‘The f—ers’. They were trying to bully him. They were a big team and, in the tunnel, they were even bigger. So I said to myself ‘Alright, let’s go.’
“If it had come to a fight, Patrick [Vieira] could probably have killed me.”
On a fall-out with Carlos Queiroz: “I said, ‘Don’t you f—ing talk to me about loyalty, Carlos. You left this club after 12 months a few years ago for the Real Madrid job. Don’t you dare question my loyalty.'”
On the bust-up with Sir Alex: “I’d known for a few days they were trying to get rid of me. I said to Ferguson, ‘Can I play for somebody else?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, you can. ‘Cos we’re tearing up your contract.’ I knew there’d be clubs in for me when the news got out. I said, ‘Yeah. I think we have come to the end.’ I just thought, ‘F—ing p—ks’ — and I stood up and went, ‘Yeah, I’m off.'”
On his apology for the bust-up: “I went to see the manager and Carlos, and I apologised. Sometimes you feel a justified anger; sometimes you feel you’ve done something wrong.
“I apologised. But afterwards I was thinking, ‘I’m not sure why I f—ing apologised.’ I just wanted to do the right thing. I was apologising for what had happened — that it had happened.
“But I wasn’t apologising for my behaviour or stance. There’s a difference. I had nothing to apologise for.”
On the canned interview with MUTV in which he criticised United teammates: “I had to do it. I was disappointed with the players, but it was MUTV, propaganda for the club. So I did the interview. The idea that I was in the studio ranting and raving, no. It was quite calculated.
“Even now people still say: ‘The video had to be destroyed.’ Like it was a nuclear weapon or something. Did someone drive out to the countryside and bury it in the f—ing ground? Or did a bomb disposal unit come and explode it? It had to be destroyed.
“I wasn’t worried about the dressing room. They knew my form. It was getting a bit silly so I got the players together in the dressing room and told them it was f—ing nonsense. Not one of them had an issue. Not one.”
On his exit: “I said [to agent Michael Kennedy], ‘Come on Michael, I’ve had enough of them — f— ’em. We’ve lost respect for each other.’ My leaving the club, the way I look at it now, it was definitely for the benefit of Manchester United.
“If the manager and Carlos felt that I was up to whatever they thought I was up to, if there was that awkwardness, then it was best for everybody that I go. And let me suffer the consequences. Let me cry in my car for two minutes. If it benefited Manchester United, so be it.”
On keeping his club car for three months after he left: “I drove some f—–g miles in that car. Every little victory is vital.”
On leaving Manchester United: “When I moved to Celtic I used to get an early flight up to Edinburgh or Glasgow, and I’d hire a car and drive from there to the training ground. One morning a taxi driver picked me up, to bring me from my house to Manchester Airport.
“I got into the taxi at about six. My flight was at seven. In the middle of winter. And the taxi driver asked me: ‘Do you miss being at United?’ It was six in the f—in’ morning, it was freezing — black outside. I looked at him and I went: ‘What do you think?’ We laughed.”
On Cristiano Ronaldo: “I liked Ronaldo straight away. He had a nice presence about him and a good attitude. After watching him train for a few days I thought: ‘This lad is going to be one of the best players in the world.’
“He was 17, but he was immediately one of the hardest working players at United. He was good looking and he knew it. Looking at some of the other players in front of the mirror I would think: ‘You f—ing nugget.’ But Ronaldo had an innocence to him and a niceness.”
On Ferguson and Brian Clough: “Different managers, both brilliant. I think Clough’s warmth was genuine, but with Ferguson it was pure business — everything is business.
“If he was being nice I would think: ‘This is business, this.’ He was driven and ruthless. That lack of warmth was his strength. United was a much bigger club than [Nottingham] Forest, but his coldness made him successful. As a manager I would take Clough’s warmth and Ferguson’s ruthlessness and put them in the mix — but also add my own traits.”
On that tackle on Alf Inge Haaland: “I did want to nail him and let him know what was happening. I wanted to hurt him and stand over him and go: ‘Take that, you c–t.’ I don’t regret that. But I had no wish to injure him.
“It was action; it was football. It was dog eats dog. I’ve kicked lots of players and I know the difference between hurting somebody and injuring somebody. I didn’t go to injure Haaland. When you play sport, you know how to injure somebody. There was no premeditation.
“Looking back, I’m disappointed in the other City players. They didn’t jump in to defend their teammate.”
On Rio Ferdinand’s missed drugs test: “He suffered for it and so did the team. If it had been me, and the doctor had said I had to do a drugs test, I’d have gone and done it. It wasn’t something I’d have forgotten.
“It wouldn’t have been like collecting a letter at the office, or remembering your boots. When a doctor says you’ve got to do a drugs test, it’s not an everyday thing. But then, some people are genuinely forgetful.
“I didn’t look at Rio and think that he’d been up to no good, or that there was a hidden reason for what had occurred. I think he genuinely forgot. We paid the price. He was a very good player and we missed him, especially in the second half of the season when the crunch games were coming up.”
On United under David Moyes: “I wonder about the current United dressing room. When a manager like Sir Alex Ferguson is replaced the new man needs a helping hand. Does that mean every player should like him? No.
“I look at the current players, and they should have been doing a lot better. It might be argued that it was up to the manager to motivate them. But not liking a manager, for whatever reason, can never be an excuse for not going out and doing your best.
“Looking at what happened to David Moyes, I have to conclude that he can’t have had a strong dressing-room: he had a weak dressing room.”