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TRANSCRIPT: Paul Scholes retirement interview

Gary Neville: Wednesday morning, you’re driving to training, can you explain how the news was broken to you that Sir Alex Ferguson was retiring?

Paul Scholes: He came in to the dressing room on Wednesday morning. He called a meeting, just the players only, and he just broke the news to us that it was time for him to go. Obviously we were a little bit shell-shocked and everybody was quiet. It was a weird feeling. It was a strange morning. There had been rumblings on the Tuesday afternoon and I think he was a little bit disappointed that something had come out. I don’t think it was the way he wanted the players or his staff to find out. The players were shocked and quiet because it’s all we’ve ever known.

GN: Do you think that it was released before he wanted it to be released?

PS: I think so. You know how he is, you played for him, and he’s all for his players, and he gets behind his players, protects them, to help even if he’s not happy with something inside. To the outside world he will protect his players and I think he realised how important his players are to him and I think he really wanted us to know first.

GN: What did you personally feel? What was training like that morning? Was it weird?

PS: It was strange, yeh. I suppose, as footballers, you just get on with it don’t you. You lose big players, you lose a friend out of the team, and for a couple of days it does effect you but I suppose we’re quite cold people, aren’t we. Or is that just me? [Both laugh] You just have to move on.

GN: All the players have got their memories of him but what are you early memories as a kid coming through the ranks?

PS: The fear of him really. Just his presence, you’d know when he was in a room. You just have to be careful of what you’re doing and just make sure he’s in a nice mood.

GN: Are there any particular moments that stand out for you where you got on the wrong side of him?

PS: It was something stupid that I created. I didn’t really get on the wrong side of him, I refused to play in a game against Arsenal in the cup. We’d played Liverpool the day before and he’d left me out of the game, and as you are in those days, well, as I was, stupid, you’re young and you probably think you’re more important than you actually are. We were getting beaten 2-0 in the game as well and there was no sign of him bringing me on and I was thinking he should have done. But I had a feeling he was trying to wind me up and save me for the game the night after which was really, basically, a reserve game. I think we were going from Stockport station and I drove down to see him and told him ‘I’m not going’, which, when you think of doing something like that now, it’s just stupid. How daft can you be? To this day I still regret doing it. He fined me a week or two’s wages, and I was quite lucky it was just that. If you look now it’s probably a sackable offence. You’d have to say sacking wouldn’t be out of the question. He fined me two weeks wages, said that was the end of it, we shook hands and that was that. He didn’t hold a grudge or anything. As you know, he likes to deal with stuff there and then, and lets you get on with it.

GN: What do you think his greatest strength is?

PS: The way he protects players. I don’t think you’ve ever seen him come out in an interview afterwards and have a go at any of his players, no matter how disappointed he is with them. He’ll keep everything like that in house and that’s a great strength that not all managers have.

GN: How do you think the club is going to react to losing Sir Alex Ferguson in that dressing room?

PS: You just don’t know. Time will tell. David Moyes looks like a great appointment, he’s got all the credentials, he’s been loyal to his last club. I’m sure he’s had opportunities to go to bigger clubs but the job he’s done there has been great. For our manager to recommend him he must see some qualities in Moyes that he had as a younger man.

GN: Do you think the players are happy about the appointment?

PS: Yeh, I think so, yeh. I’m sure they’re all happy with the appointment. It’s probably a little too soon to really think about that. The news is really fresh in people’s minds. But when they come back in July and they’re ready for a new season, they’ll be right behind the new manager. It’s not a bad job to come in to, with twenty, twenty-two top class players to look after.




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23 Comments

  1. KingOfStretfordEnd says:

    Like the part about being cold people. I should really take a leaf out of Scholesy’s books. He does well to detach emotions and I like the way he says we have to move on, with really the ‘let’s move on’ tone. Football is such an emotional game, and this past week has really epitomized that especially for us Manchester United fans.

    He’s a great great no-fuss person, a loyal guy, and a great footballer.

  2. Costas says:

    Really funny how of all people, Scholes once refused to play a game for Sir Alex.

  3. leetguy1101 says:

    I love reading stuff like this – two club legends hanging out, discussing times when they were young and apparently stupid. I need to get a Scholes shirt. Like, another one.

  4. Hans says:

    I desperatly wanted him to score yesterday, but it wasn’t to be!

    He is simply a LEGEND!!

  5. Keane16 says:

    Any truth him and Rooney had a row last nite!!!!

  6. mara says:

    Paul really rare normal player. Everything what he is saying, he is saying on the pitch

  7. iced earth says:

    LEGEND!!!!!!

  8. Bobby Charlton's Combover says:

    ” I don’t think you’ve ever seen him come out in an interview afterwards and have a go at any of his players, no matter how disappointed he is with them”

    In fariness Alex has had a view thinly veiled digs at Rooney recently-.

  9. TheCANTONA says:

    enough with rooney, he’s cunt. fat scouse twat, if u think he’s bigger than the club then jog on!

  10. NBI Red Onion says:

    Well when people kept making Rooney a story after RM SAF had to say something and he was actually very diplomatic saying Rooney needed games instead of he was not good enough and too lazy to get fit and outcompeted in his position.

    I think the Club will sell him, SAF clearly does not like the guy, the last thing Moyes needs is disruption, I was watching him with his teammates and he was trying to get buddy buddy with Pea and co but they clearly did not want to talk to him, polite then turned away and celebrated with someone else. I don’t think any of the players will be too impressed with this they are not fools. The Club has been in for Lewandowski and SAF has confirmed that they are interested, time for lazy to go.

  11. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ Scott – can we have the full transcript please. Cheers.

  12. Giles Oakley says:

    I remember that game Scholsey refused to play in, a League Cup match against Arsenal at Highbury. There were rumours flying round even then, on the night. The thing I most recall from the match was when United took the lead and an Arsenal fan blamed Sol Campbell. He kept calling him a ‘fucking black cunt’. I wonder if John Terry was in the crowd that night incognito. United lost 3-1. John O’Shea was a bit battered as centre half.

  13. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ Giles – ha mate, but how can you focus on the past with all that is happening now? What is your view on the order of the day?

  14. Giles Oakley says:

    Hi,NBI. Hard to escape the past right now, when it’s al around us, but guess my default position is to live in it!.

    As for the issues of the day, I’m very sad to see Fergie go, of course, and yesterday was an amazing experience, even at one remove onTV, but I’m already looking forward, strange as it might seem coming from one so fascinated by history. I’m like Fergie himself, and Giggsy, the instant a trophy is won I’m thinking of the next. I can enjoy this summer, knowing we’re champs (unlike last year, obviously) but already my thoughts are about how Moyes will strengthen his team.

    I was initialy a little underwhelmed by the appintment of David Moyes but the more I read about him the more I’m impressed. It was fantastic to see the reaction of the Goodison crowd yesterday, an outpouring of love almost as palpable as that for Fergie at OldTrafford, and that despite him leaving for United, and despite him having won no trophies. That speaks volumes about what he’s done for them.

    Then the other topic: Rooney

    I feel very let down by him, not for the first time, it has to be said. How crass can you get, becoming a distraction on the day Sir Alex says his good-byes after over 26 years, surrounded by 76,000 fans and so many players who have benefitted from what the manager has done for them over so many years. It’s so self-centred and lackig in respect. If he grows up (again?) and apologises properly I’d be happy to see him stay, but otherwise I’ll not weep if he leaves, as long as United get a good price.

    I was so pleased to see Fergie remembering Darren Fletcher, a great player, sadly missed. I hope there is some real hope for him that he’ll be able to come back.

  15. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ Giles – I feel similar re Moyes, it will be exciting and on inspection he seems like a solid reliable sort with a bit of character and the ability to surprise. He apparently started taking coaching badges at 20 and would go to international tournaments sit in on training and take pages of notes, so this is a dedicated passion for him. I can’t wait to see who we buy.

    Re Rooney, I am burnt out on that issue, the love went last time and the like was killed last week. It’s just too much, given previous players, Keano, Becks, Rudd’s exits, the Club need to now end this saga, it’s always going to be an issue now, the apology is meaningless once one knows previous apologies and statements were for convenience not truth. We are not a mercenary Club, you want a player to at least have some pride in the shirt, to give it his all an fight for his place. I see him as the most mercenary of all our top players, the one to whom the Club really meant nothing. As for history, remember “Once a blue, always a blue.”

  16. Bobby Charlton's Combover says:

    Fair comment about the Everton fans and well done to them for the send off. No bad blood but celebrating the efforts and consolidation Moyes brought to the team and the club.

  17. wazzer says:

    we will all miss you scholes :’(

  18. CyRed says:

    Top quality and united to the bone.

  19. bombay_devil says:

    He wouldn’t even shoot against Swansea.I don’t think there’ll ever be a player who’s as humble even with half his ability.

  20. The Left Bank says:

    United legend. It was nice of Sir Alex to commend him in his farewell speech. I hope he is a success as a coach at United.

  21. Tasty Geezer says:

    Perhaps Mancini should of read this:

    “You know how he is, you played for him, and he’s all for his players, and he gets behind his players, protects them, to help even if he’s not happy with something inside. To the outside world he will protect his players and I think he realised how important his players are to him and I think he really wanted us to know first.”

    “The way he protects players. I don’t think you’ve ever seen him come out in an interview afterwards and have a go at any of his players, no matter how disappointed he is with them. He’ll keep everything like that in house and that’s a great strength that not all managers have.”

    Thanks for everything Sir Alex Ferguson.

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