Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson met him at a pretrol station before confirming his sale to Lazio. It didn’t end well for the Dutchman with all of this happening as a result of a spat over his autobiography.
Stam joined United in 1998 for a fee said to be worth £10.6 million but he was immediately sold to the Serie A side in 2001 after claiming that Ferguson approached him illegally whilst he was playing for PSV in his autobiography, Head to Head.
The Dutch defender was already a favourite amongst the fans at Old Trafford, so this came as a surprise at the time. When Ferguson proposed a move to Lazio with his reasoning, Stam agreed. He didn’t really have a choice on the matter.
“I soon realised the club wanted to get rid of me. They also needed the money. Very soon the book became an issue again. It led to a conflict between me and the manager,” he told the Sunday Mirror.
“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. 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.”