Jaap Stam opens up on Man Utd exit after bust-up with Sir Alex Ferguson
Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has lifted the lid on his shock exit from the club in 2001 and says he was told the news that he had been sold at a petrol station.
Stam won three Premier League titles, a Champions League and an FA Cup during his time at Old Trafford, and was considered a hugely important part of Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
But the legendary manager reacted angrily when Stam's Head To Head autobiography was published and decided to sell the player to Lazio.
Speaking to Four Four Two, Stam recalled the moment he learned he was no longer a United player.
On the topic of his book, Stam said: "Initially, Ferguson had told me not to worry about it, but on Wednesday – the morning of the match – I was informed that I should report for talks with him the next day, because he wasn't happy about some of it.
"After the game, I went home and reported the next morning at 8am, because I was keen to resolve the matter. I said, 'You know what's in the book – nothing bad.' But he maintained that he wasn't happy.
"I was left out for a game against Blackburn. On the day, he called me to say I wasn't in his squad because of the book hassle. He felt it might calm down if I wasn't playing. We had a few conversations, although none of them were really satisfactory."
Stam said it wasn't until he was driving back from training a few days later that he was told he no longer had a future at United.
He added: "A bit later that week, I was driving home from training when my agent phoned, telling me I'd been sold. I was like, 'What?!' He said, 'Yeah, they'll contact you in a minute.'
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"Moments later, Ferguson called me and asked where I was. We lived in the same area, and he told me to wait for him so that we could have a chat.
"I pulled into a petrol station near a shopping centre and he met me there. When he arrived, he got in my car and told me that the club had accepted an offer from Lazio. Within 24 hours, I'd gone to Rome and joined Lazio."
Ferguson later admitted he regretted selling Stam, who went on to play for Milan and Ajax as well as Lazio before retiring in 2007 and moving into management.
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