Edwin van der Sar was back at Old Trafford for the Europa League tie against Ajax. We spoke to the Dutchman about his former clubs and how he’s adjusted to retirement…
How have you found retirement so far?
It’s fine. I’m quite busy, to be fair! It’s the smaller things that keep me occupied, rather than having to devote 80 percent of my time to football. I’ve gone from travelling, staying in hotels, resting and playing games to filling my days. I can’t think of any afternoon I’ve been to bed for a nice little kip, and I hardly watch any DVDs, so it’s a different rhythm you have to your days. You don’t have to go training early or play late, you just have loads of small things taking up your time.
What kind of things?
I’m doing a Master’s degree in Sports Management in Amsterdam, plus we’re very busy setting up our own foundation. My wife had her brain haemorrhage two years ago and part of the money raised by my testimonial is going towards that foundation. We have a lot of meetings with physios and neuro-psychologists to set up a real base to help people who have suffered brain haemorrhages or brain damage. It’s going to be called the Edwin van der Sar, which is very original! I’ve done a marathon, a couple of appearances on television in Holland, some ambassadorial visits for United and some commercial work with AON, too. I’ve only played golf twice in the last half-year, so it’s not going in the right direction! I need to make more time to get my handicap down!
Have you kept in contact with people at United?
Of course. You have text messages and messenger to stay in touch. I bumped into Sir Alex and David Gill a couple of weeks ago in London at a sports dinner for Sir Bobby Charlton’s lifetime achievement award. I still speak to a lot of people. I saw Anders Lindegaard in Amsterdam two weeks ago. I’ve been back to Carrington once and was at both legs of the Ajax-United tie. United were a big part of my life for six years, it was a great time for me and my family, so it’s not just something you leave behind straight away. We’ve still got loads of friends over in Manchester, so it was good to be back.
How did you come to join Ajax?
I was 18 and still playing for my local club in the village I live in now. Louis van Gaal was one of the junior team coaches at Ajax and he was playing cards with the coach of my team, and my coach told Louis