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Ferguson’s biggest mistake and Man Utd conflict – “I made a bad decision there”

Sir Alex Ferguson was responsible for a lot of good at Manchester United during his time in charge.

But everyone has a mistake in them, and by his own admission, selling Jaap Stam was perhaps one of his biggest.

Manchester United signed the centre-back from PSV Eindhoven in 1998 and he immediately took to life in the Premier League.

Powerful, aggressive and confident, Stam is regarded as one of the club’s greatest ever defenders, but despite this, the Dutchman was only at Man United for three seasons.

In 2001, Stam was sold to Inter Milan and his United love affair came to an end.

In his autobiography, which was serialised by the Sunday Mirror, Stam recalled the events leading up to his exit and admits there was a conflict between him and Ferguson.

“I soon realised the club wanted to get rid of me. They also needed the money. Very soon the book became an issue again,” he wrote.

Sir Alex Ferguson is a Manchester United legend

“It led to a conflict between me and the manager. One morning I told him what I thought and left the training ground on the spot. On the way home I received a phone call in my car from Fergie’s secretary.

“She said that he wanted to speak to me. He came on the phone straightaway. Ferguson said, ‘Where are you?’ I said, ‘Close to my house, at a petrol station.’ Ferguson said, ‘Wait there!’ He jumped in his car and came straight to me.

“At the petrol station he parked his car and got in with me.

“He told me that I had to be transferred. Then he said, ‘Will you please move to Lazio quickly?’

“I agreed to do it. Right there and then. One quick conversation in my car at a petrol station in Manchester was enough for me to leave that big club.

Ferguson signed Jaap Stam from PSV Eindhoven
Ferguson signed Jaap Stam from PSV Eindhoven

“When I think about it now, and I have never talked about it before, I find it unbelievable I let that, as a player, happen to me.”

Stam wasn’t the only man to have regret over how the defender’s United tenure came to a premature conclusion.

Speaking in an interview with MUTV, Ferguson said: “When I think of disappointments, obviously Jaap Stam was always a disappointment to me, I made a bad decision there.”




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