Manchester United host Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon, and Paul McShane isn't the only celebrated centre-back who is making a return to Old Trafford.
Yip Jaap Stam is a big Dutch man, and he's also a seriously promising manager who has guided his Reading side from mid-table mediocrity to third place in the Championship, looking good for a promotion race in the second half of the season.
His return to Man United comes 16 years after leaving the club following a breakdown in his relationship with Alex Ferguson due to comments he had made in his book. Despite playing only three seasons with the club, Stam is still held in high regard by the fans and always enters the discussion when it comes to the best defenders ever to pull on the red jersey.
It was inevitable that the Dutch manager would be asked about his departure from the club and the comments he had made at the time, and Stam revealed that Ferguson had a meeting with him in the car park of a petrol station where he informed him that he would be sold.
But Stam was also asked about his famous comments regarding Gary and Phil Neville, as he wrote in his book 'Head To Head':
Busy cunts we call them, for their endless grumbling about everything in general and nothing in particular. The pair of them never stop whingeing.
Stam was keen to express that this was not meant with malice, and insisted that he enjoyed working with both before going on to praise Gary's television work in recent times.
We were a team with players who kept each other on their toes to perform. We were like sharp or sarcastic against each other in certain [ways]. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them. I liked the Neville brothers very much, Phil and Gary. They are great people to work with and play with but sometimes in the book the comment I made was more in a joking way than being rude against them or whatever.
I’ve seen Gary on television where he’s doing his job now. He’s always been a person who likes to talk and he’s still doing that and I think he’s doing a great job for the television as well.
So there we have it.
From reading Gary Neville's autobiography it's clear that there are no hard feelings between the two (and also that Stam wasn't exactly wrong) but now it's out in the public domain before Stam comes back to the club with which he won the Champions League in the 1998/99 season.