Football

Damien Duff: "I Only Realised When I Retired, My God I Love Man Utd"

Damien Duff: "I Only Realised When I Retired, My God I Love Man Utd"

Republic of Ireland legend Damien Duff has declared himself a Manchester United fan, as his trip to Old Trafford to participate in Michael Carrick's testimonial last month rekindled a love for the club he held since he was a kid.

Duff was speaking to Richie Sadlier on 'The Player's Chair' as part of Second Captains World Service, when he admitted that although he played for Chelsea, and nearly signed for Liverpool, he always wanted to move to Manchester United.

He even met with Alex Ferguson, but remains unsure as to why a move to United never came about. Duff suggested that his fee may have been more than the club were willing to pay for his services, and recalled a chat with Roy Keane once the Man Utd captain had returned from his international exile where Duff came to notice that he wasn't sure why a move never happened.

I met [Alex Ferguson] a long time ago. I was just a nervous wreck, they were my club obviously before I was at Chelsea I was at Blackburn and I wanted to go there but it didn't materialise, back then I think my fee was £15m and I ended up going for £17m, it's a lot of money and it didn't quite happen. Nearly went to Liverpool, didn't quite happen. Everything happens for a reason.

You don't know what goes on behind the scenes in boardrooms with money and agents and all, so I never really found out, I just said I want to go, but it didn't materialise. I stayed at Blackburn for another year.

It's only kind of years later, I meet Roy when he joined back up with the Irish team and he was like 'why didn't you come?', I said I wanted to come and then you realise right, well something has gone missing somewhere along the line, but I'm not one to sit at home mulling over things.

Roy doing some transfer business behind the scenes, Irish fans of Man Utd would have loved to see it happen, but then again, it's not like the left flank was a problem position..

He came across as a man who holds no regrets at the end of his career, but Duff revealed that when he took his kids to watch him play at Old Trafford, he was reminded of how much he loved the club.

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I don't know, honest to God, I never did find out. You move on.

I always supported then who I played for, supported Blackburn, supported Chelsea, but it's only kind of when I retried I've realised, my God I just love Manchester United.

Driving there with my kids last week [to Old Trafford for Michael Carrick's testimonial], the only reason I kind of played in it to be fair my kids never really saw me play in a game in a big stadium, but I brought them over and I see the Man Utd sign at Old Trafford, and I was like, that's ingrained in me.

I used to watch my Man Utd videos when I was four, five, and it just kind of all came flooding back.

It was Carrick's testimonial but it felt like my day!

Unfortunately, that match may well have served as Duffer's goodbye to football as he explained earlier in the chat with Sadlier that doctors had recently told him never to play football again due to the after-effects of his career.

We never knew he had such strong feelings for Man Utd. As half-surprised as we were when Eamon Dunphy officially came out as a Liverpool fan a few months back, for Duff to speak as passionately about United as he did was something we were not expecting.

While he may not dwell on the 'what if?', we imagine a lot of Man Utd fans in Ireland are doing that right about now.

You can listen to Damien Duff's chat with Richie Sadlier, and we highly reccommend that you do, over on Second Captains World Service.

Mikey Traynor

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