Sir Alex Ferguson told player, ‘you’ll never play for Man United again’ for swapping shirts after derby defeat
Rio Ferdinand recalled how Sir Alex Ferguson “destroyed” Ruud van Nistelrooy after the striker swapped shirts with a Manchester City player following a derby defeat.
The Red Devils were defeated 3-1 in the final City-United fixture at Maine Road in Ferdinand’s first derby as a United player following his £30 million move from Leeds.
Shaun Goater scored twice, and Nicolas Anelka also scored. United’s goal was scored by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but it was his strike partner who sparked controversy after the game.
Van Nistelrooy walked into the dressing room wearing a City shirt, and despite the fact that United was by far the dominant team in Manchester, Ferguson was devastated by the defeat.
“We got beaten 3-1 at Maine Road, with Shaun Goater scoring two goals,” Ferdinand said in his latest Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE episode, which also featured Vincent Kompany.
“That was my first derby, and the moment I realized how big it was was in the locker room afterward.”
We walked in, and the manager shut the door behind us. It was quiet for a while, and then he burst out laughing. Ruud van Nistelrooy, the God at the time, walked in with a City shirt in his hand, and Sir Alex Ferguson absolutely unloaded on him. ‘If I ever see any of you walking around with a City shirt again, you’ll never play for this club,’ he said.
“He was just mad, that’s how he was.” That’s when I realized, ‘This is a big game, isn’t it?’ ” I didn’t realize it before that game, but whether you win or lose, I knew that week leading up to a derby was all or nothing.”
Ferguson gave Van Nistelrooy a dressing down despite the fact that he was United’s main man up top at the time.
Ferguson, according to former United captain Gary Neville, prohibited his players from changing shirts during domestic games as a result.
Van Nistelrooy scored in the rematch at Old Trafford, but Goater, who came on as a substitute, saved City with a late header.
Van Nistelrooy played for United for five seasons, scoring 150 goals in 219 appearances before joining Real Madrid.
He and Ferguson clashed in his final days at United, and Van Nistelrooy revealed in 2011 that he went out of his way to apologize to Ferguson.
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