Former United defender David May.

May recalls Old Trafford exit in latest UTD Podcast

In the fifth episode of UTD Podcast, which is available on your favourite platforms now, David May reveals how he struggled to come to terms with his departure from Old Trafford.

The former United defender began his career at Blackburn Rovers before signing in 1994, and went on to win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in his nine-year stint at the club.

After being part of our Treble-winning squad in 1998/99, Maysie struggled with injuries towards the end of his career, which included an ill-fated loan spell at Huddersfield Town, and duly retired from football in 2004.

In our latest episode of UTD Podcast, which you can download from our official music partner Deezer and all of your favourite podcast apps, David empathised with fellow former footballers that have battled depression after hanging up their boots, and who he shared an expensive bottle of champagne with after United's title success in 2003...

May: Leaving United was toughVideo

What happened when you left United? Was that your choice or the gaffer’s?
“No, it was my choice. I had snapped my Achilles, ruptured my thigh, I had a real tough time of it. People go on about depression in football. Being injured is depressing. It really is and when you’re out for six months, seven months and you see the lads enjoying themselves and winning things it is hard. It’s so hard, because you want to be out there doing it. It’s your job.”

You just don’t feel part of it?
“No you don’t. And it’s tough. And I can understand to a certain extent when people finish football and they don’t have anything set up how they can go into depression.”

You went on loan to Huddersfield, right?
“And blew my hamstring in the first game, because I hadn’t played. I had played in the reserves, and you can play in the reserves and you can breeze through it, it’s easy, but when you step up into the first team there’s more pressure. It is tough. It’s really, really tough, and you’ve got to have a strong family behind you otherwise you can go into meltdown. You see more and more people now finishing the game and talking about depression and it is depressing.”

Were you not ready to retire?
“The gaffer brought me into the office and said, ‘you’ve been a fantastic servant; you’ve never been any trouble with the club, my door is always open,’ But I remember driving out of Carrington thinking that’s it. What do I do now? I couldn’t take it. I just thought that’s me done.”

Did you cry?
“Do you know what? I did. I filled up thinking what do I do? My career is over, finished. I just went on a 12-day bender on my own in my apartment in Manchester. I had an apartment in Parsonage Gardens and I went to stay there. We had won the league at Everton and we had the party in the Living Room [bar in Manchester]. We were in there and the lads were celebrating and I had had enough because I needed to go to bed. So I got a bottle of Krug champagne, walked out of the Living Room, walked down Deansgate, it still had the cork in it, I got round to Parsonage Gardens and this tramp was on a bench in the gardens. So I walked over and started chatting to him. God knows what we were talking about. It must have been around one o’clock in the morning.”

How much was the bottle worth?
“Probably around 200 quid? So me and this tramp ended up drinking this bottle of champagne in the middle of Parsonage Gardens. I remember thinking I needed to go to bed and my room was only 20 yards away, so I gave him the rest of the bottle, wished him all the best and that was the start of my 12-day bender.”

What happened on the 13th day?
I just thought that I cannot continue to do this. I need to get home. What I’m doing is wrong. That was probably the depression that I needed to get out of myself and I did that by drinking. Then, I went home, went on holiday, got a call from Burnley which was 12 or 13 miles from my door where I used to live and went to Burnley for 12 months and then retired. So, there you go.

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