Following a run of poor form in 2001 after being played behind the striker, Paul Scholes was dropped from the starting XI for our trip to Anfield. Scholes came off the bench with ten minutes to go but two goals from Michael Owen sealed a 3-1 defeat for United.
So angry was Scholes for being left out in favour of Butt and Veron, he refused to play in our next game, which was against Arsenal in the League Cup. Dwight Yorke and Phil Neville were the only recognised first team players in the squad and without Scholes’ help, they lost 4-0, despite Arsenal going down to ten men with twenty minutes left.
At the time it was reported he was fined £100k for his behaviour, although he did start and played 90 minutes in our next game.
Ahead of his testimonial on Friday, Scholes has reflected on this incident with regret.
“It is something I regret doing. I wasn’t in a great mood after being left out of the starting line-up for the Liverpool game – our previous match,” he said. “It was basically the reserves who were playing at Arsenal and I got a bee in my bonnet that I wasn’t happy with it and my attitude was, ‘I’m not going’. It was a silly thing to do – I know that. I had reasons for it but it was stupid and I ended up apologising. But I was lucky – Sir Alex would have been well within his rights to get rid of me after I refused to play for one of his teams and I couldn’t have complained about it. I don’t think many players have done what I did. “I got fined for it – a week or two weeks’ wages. I can’t remember exactly but I didn’t do it again! And I definitely regret doing it.”