Ferguson finally admits Stam blunder

Many football fans will know that Sir Alex Ferguson regards Manchester United’s reputation as one Europe’s football giants as the most important aspect of the club.

If any player thinks he is bigger than the club or has disrespected his team-mates he will immediately be shown the door.

Think of the players that have been turfed out of United in the past – Lee Sharpe, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, David Beckham and Roy Keane are just a few.

But one of the best was undoubtedly Jaap Stam.

The Dutch giant was immense form his first game for the Old Trafford club and quickly emerged as their defensive bedrock.

However, when the centre-back slammed the Neville brothers and accused Sir Alex of tapping him up in his ill-fated autobiography it was obvious that his days were numbered.

Lazio offered £16.5 million for his services and the rest his history.Stam was quickly shown the door and the following 2001/02 season United’s defence faltered nd the Red Devils were tropyhless.

Surely one of Ferguson’s worst blunders, and probably one he wouldn’t admit – until now.

Still refusing to declare the reasons behind Stam’s departure, Ferguson told an audience in the Citizen’s theatre in Glasgow: “At the time he had just come back from an Achilles injury and we thought he had just lost a little bit.

“We got the offer from Lazio – £16.5m for a centre-back that was 29. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”But in playing terms it was a mistake. He is still playing for Ajax at a really good level.”

Ferguson is right, It’s just a shame that he didn’t see it that way at the time.

In Stam’s three short seasons, United won the title every season and completed the treble.

Who knows how many more trophies they would have in their cabinet if he had stayed.