Former Manchester United player Jaap Stam is set to reunite with former manager Alex Ferguson when he leads Reading in a visit to Old Trafford in the third round of the FA Cup next month.
The Dutchman is poised for a return to a club he won three Premier League title and a Champions League.
The 44-year old is one of Fergie’s players that followed his footsteps in soccer management. He is set to receive an ovation when he arrives at old Trafford. He was one of the standout players at United then he left in 2001 to play in the Serie A. He stayed at Lazio where he enjoyed five successful seasons before switching again to Ajax where he ended his career.
After the player left, Ferguson disclosed that letting the player leave was his biggest mistake.
“Jaap Stam was the one. Without a question, I made a mistake there,” he confessed. He blamed his error on the fitness report he received then.
“He’d been out for months end and, when he came back, Steve McClaren [United’s then assistant manager], and I thought he had lost a yard of pace. We played Fulham and he didn’t have a good game and at that moment Lazio come in and offer £16.5 million.
“So then Jaap goes to Lazio and he played fantastic. So it was a bad decision. I should maybe have waited a bit longer,” Ferguson disclosed.
Staam has had coaching spells at Zwolle and Ajax before helping Reading to a third place finish in the Championship. Ahead of his return to Old Trafford he said it would be “nice” to talk with Ferguson.
“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,” Stam said.