A dismembered Sir Alex Ferguson “ruined” Ruud van Nistelrooy after the striker swapped jerseys with a Manchester City player after a derby defeat, Rio Ferdinand recalled.
In Ferdinand’s first derby as a United player after his £ 30m move from Leeds, the Red Devils were beaten 3-1 in the last City-United showdown on Maine Road.
Shaun Goater struck twice, with Nicolas Anelka also on goal. Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored United’s goal, but it was his attacking partner who curtailed controversy after the match.
Van Nistelrooy walked into the locker room with a City jersey, and although United were by far the top dogs in Manchester, Ferguson lost it after the loss.
“We were beaten 3-1 on Maine Road, with Shaun Goater scoring two goals,” Ferdinand recalled in his latest post. Rio Ferdinand presents FEM episode with Vincent Kompany.
“It was the first derby I played and the moment I realized how big it was was in the locker room after.
“We went in and the manager closed the door. It was quiet and then all of a sudden he just broke out.
“Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was the god at the time, walked in with a City jersey in his hand and I remember Sir Alex Ferguson just completely unloading on him. He ruined him and said, ‘If I ever see any of you go with a City jersey ever again, you will never play for this club. ‘
“That’s how he was, he was just mad. That was when I was sitting there thinking, ‘This is a big game, isn’t it?’
“I did not know before that match, and ever since then, whether you win more or less, I knew that the week leading up to a derby was all or nothing.”
Van Nistelrooy was United’s captain at the time, but that did not stop Ferguson from giving a dressing down.
Van Nistelrooy scored in the return leg at Old Trafford, but the substitute Goater saved a point for City with a late header.
In five seasons at United, Van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals in 219 games for the club before joining Real Madrid.