Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam is hoping to hear from former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of his side’s sides trip to Old Trafford in the FA Cup third round next month. Stam – now manager of Championship side Reading – also said that he hasn’t heard from Fergie since taking over at the Royals in the summer.
The Dutchman takes his high-flying Reading side to his old stomping ground when the FA Cup third round gets underway in the new year. Stam spent three years at United, winning three league titles before departing on bad terms following the release of his ‘Head to Head’ autobiography. Ferguson allowed Stam to join Italian side Lazio in the summer of 2001, a decision that the Scotsman said he later regretted.
Reading have shot up the Championship table in recent weeks following five wins on the bounce – a run which saw them concede just once – however, they were brought back down to earth at the weekend as they were resoundingly beaten 5-0 by Fulham at Craven Cottage. Despite not speaking to his former manager since taking the Reading job in June, Stam admits it would be “nice” to hear from Ferguson now that he has a job in management himself. Stam told the Daily Mail:
“I haven’t heard from Sir Alex since I came here but I do think it would be nice to talk to him.
“Now, as a manager, I think of the way he spoke to the group, how he affected the team at certain moments.”
The former Dutch international spent three years at Lazio before moving to fellow Serie A side AC Milan, he later finished his career in his native Netherlands with Ajax and although Fergie later admitted it was an error allowing Stam to leave Old Trafford at that stage of his career (29-years-old), Stam doesn’t share the regret.
“I was enjoying myself at United. I had signed a new contract the season before. I had no intention of moving. Everyone knows how it went.
“I still think I had my best spell in football at Lazio and Milan because you get to a certain age and you know everything you need to do in every situation. I have worked in England, Italy and Holland and that gives me a great blend of knowledge.”
Stam is the latest in a long line of Ferguson’s disciples to try their hand at management, following the footsteps of Roy Keane and Gary Neville, just to name a couple and Stam believes the former can still become a “great manager”. He said:
“A lot of people point and say, ‘he’s going to be a manager’. I always find that hard. You have certain players who talk a lot but are they saying the right things? Just because someone has a certain presence, it doesn’t mean he will be a great manager. No. Being a manager is totally different to being a player and shouting in the dressing room.
“A lot of people talk a lot about football on TV. A lot of people can say he played well or didn’t play well. I still think Roy can be a great manager. I’ve not seen him in that environment. I only know him as a player. It’s not like years ago when you could give everyone a rollicking and that’s that. It doesn’t work like that. It’s not an easy job.”
Manchester United – the current FA Cup holders – welcome Championship side Reading to Old Trafford for the third round tie that will be played between Friday 6th January and Monday 9th January 2017.