Paul Scholes announced his intention to retire at the end of the season on Saturday night, on the eve of United’s coronation as Barclays Premier League champions and Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge at Old Trafford.
As PR moves goes, it’s classic Scholes, slipping out under the radar – and this time, having reneged on his initial retirement from the game in 2011, it’s definitely for good.
In an interview with his friend and former Reds team-mate Gary Neville for Sky Sports, Scholes was asked if having the attention deflected from his departure, he responded: “Delighted! It couldn’t be much better could it? It’s a perfect weekend for me. Just slip under the radar. Try and play for an hour and off I go!”
In terms of timing, it’s perhaps fitting for such a dedicated servant to the current boss to bow out alongside Sir Alex. Describing how he heard the news of his manager’s retirement, Scholes added: “He came into the dressing room Wednesday morning and called a meeting for the players only and he just broke the news to us that it was time for him to go. We were shell-shocked and everybody was bit quiet because it’s all we’ve ever known.”
Similarly, Scholes felt his time had come to call it a day. “[I’m] totally convinced this time,” he said. “I was convinced last time to be honest with you but after six months of having blank Saturday and Sunday afternoons it does get to you and I was training with the reserves and feeling good and at the time the first-team were struggling really. They had no fit midfield players playing. That’s when I spoke to you [Gary Neville] and Phil and I thought I might as well give it a go and go and see [Sir Alex].
“But now it’s definitely the right time. It’s not been the season that I would