A retired Indian cricketer is discussing a book project with a journalist friend a few months ago. He is interested in a book but of a certain type. He might examine greatness but not gossip, he may offer the secrets to his genius but not of the dressing room. He is blunt: "Did I play cricket to make friendships or to sell books?"
He is a noble fellow who considers his cricket relationships to be sacred and unprintable. And he is right. He will not sell many books.
Alex Ferguson is selling a lot of copies of his book, My Autobiography, and not because he is a mild gossip but because of the excellent mind he has and magnificent club he managed. His book is chatty, informative and perceptive, ghosted by the terrific writer Paul Hayward and mottled with enough tidbits to guarantee sufficient controversy which in turn makes book publishers drink congratulatory gins at long lunches.
So Ferguson tells a few dressing room tales. Yawn. Who doesn't these days?
Australian cricketers, a gruff, hard tribe of beer drinkers, now point fingers about dressing room spats in breathless books. In England, a "space monkey" story escaped the football dressing room before its final line was probably uttered.
Sacred anyway seems out of date as a sporting idea. Sacred appears an uncool, romantic notion in a confessional culture. Sacred can't survive in a planet of tweeting players, club Facebook pages and official websites that tell you "10 favourite snacks" of a new football signing as if revealing the menu of the last supper.