Sir Alex Ferguson has previously confessed he was wrong to let Jaap Stam leave Manchester United, and now, the Dutchman also agrees with that view taking a cheeky dig at Ferguson.
Stam was regarded one of the best defenders in Europe when Ferguson gave the green signal to his £15million departure to Lazio in 2001, as the legendary United boss thought the Dutchman’s skills were on the wane and there was no other way but to cut him loose.
Jaap Stam went continued his playing career at the top level for five more years, three of them with Lazio and another two at AC Milan.
In 2013 Ferguson admitted it was a “bad decision” to sell the big Dutchman, and Stam, who will guide his Reading boys to Old Trafford in the FA Cup next weekend, claims he knew at that time he still had a lot to give at the top level.
“Well, of course, it was a mistake,” Stam said. “I’m not going to deny that. I knew myself how I felt as a player at the time. And at that time you’re not happy with it. But you know as well when you go into management that sometimes you have to make certain decisions.”
Stam, however, confirmed he has never spoken to Ferguson about his controversial exit, which was interestingly agreed at a petrol station after Stam had stormed away from Manchester United’s training ground.
“It happened and you have to go on with your life and you try to succeed somewhere else,” Stam told Daily Mail.
“He had the confidence in me to take me over and let me play and I’ve learned from him as a manager as well now. I’d have loved to spend a couple of years extra over there, but that’s how it was.”