Having been an assistant manager at various clubs over the past five years, Jaap Stam was given his first managerial post by Championship side Reading in the summer.
Speaking to the BBC, he has reflected on when he left Manchester United, which Sir Alex Ferguson revealed was one of the biggest mistakes of his career. Our former manager believed that Stam was approaching the final years of his career and could make a lot of money from the sale, but it turned out the defender had plenty of years left in him.
Stam had wanted to stay at United and felt settled at the club. He had spent three years with us, winning three league titles, the European Cup and the FA Cup. “It was a bolt from the blue,” he said at the time. “I didn’t see it coming. I’ve never wanted to leave this club. I love it here. But when the club tell you they’re prepare to sell, you have to start viewing things differently.”
Our former defender has revealed that he doesn’t hold any grudges though and still loves the club.
They just came up to me and said there’s a club that’s come in and put an offer in for you. We can sell you and we’re thinking about doing this. I could make my decision as well, about what I wanted to do. It makes it a bit easier than when they’ve already made that decision for me and you just hear it afterwards. For me, at the time it was very hard, but I still love United. I still love the people over there, the fans, the club. There’s no bad feelings towards them.
Speaking about his former United teammates, Stam has revealed that he hasn’t kept in touch, but then he hasn’t kept in touch with many people he’s met in football.
No, not much to be fair. The years that I’ve played football, the different teams I’ve played with, maybe I’ve only got one friend left. They’re all colleagues and eventually, if you go somewhere else, everything fades a bit. I’ve only got one friend from football. I wasn’t in football to make friends. I as in football to win trophies, to win prizes and do well myself. You get a lot of colleagues but real friends are had to find.