Former Manchester United idol Dwight Yorke says he was surprised after learning of Alex Ferguson’s retirement on Wednesday.
Ferguson spent 12.6 million pounds to lure Yorke to Old Trafford from Aston Villa, and the striker went on to score 48 goals in 96 league appearances for United.
“It is a bit of a surprise, although we kind of knew that in the future that it was going to happen,” Yorke said.
“I think it came as a surprise to everyone. But because of my affiliation with the football club and being around the club, I have got a little bit more insight, and knew that there was big news breaking.”
In his first season Yorke lifted the English Premier League title, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League, and he said that treble was the undoubted highlight of his time in Manchester.
“It was incredible, that was my first year at the club, winning the Premier League that year and going on to win the FA Cup and obviously the Champions League … it was really amazing,” he said.
“I couldn’t tell you the joy and the satisfaction that was within that, and to see the manager in his element, he doesn’t let his guard down too often, but that day he was like a kid.
“He was running around, he was jumping on everyone, drinking champagne, celebrating like no others.
“To see him the way he was on that particular night was a memory that will always stand in my mind.”
Yorke said being told by Ferguson, in 2002, that he was surplus to requirements at United, was one of his hardest days as a pro.
“I think the low for me was the day I had to leave Manchester United Football Club,” he said.
“Having to go in there and the manager having to explain the reason why, telling you he wishes it could have been a lot better but he felt it was time to move on and he was doing it for the best interests of the football club.”
“However, (he said) what you have done while at Man United will always be remembered and rest assured that the door will always be open for you.”
Clayton Blackmore, who was already at United before Ferguson’s 1986 arrival, said he was taken aback by his old manager’s departure, and feels his list of accomplishments will never be repeated.
“It was a big shock for me, you knew it was going to happen one day but I didn’t see it coming,” Blackmore said.
“I’d heard a rumour but I think it’s a shock when it happens when the manager’s been in the job for 27 years, you just expect him to be there forever.
“It’s the first time I started winning things and I think it was for everyone else as well, we won the FA Cup and then we won the Cup Winners Cup then the Super Cup, League Cup so pretty much everything except the Champions League.
“I left just before we got into the Champions League but obviously he’s gone on and won that as well. A couple of Champions Leagues, 49 trophies is incredible; it will never be done again.”