Diego: Our quizzes at United were crazy!

Saturday 29 January 2022 10:00

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United teams were famously competitive on the pitch – but Diego Forlan has revealed that the club's in-house quiz nights were arguably even more intense.

The Uruguayan joined us for an exclusive interview recently, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his transfer to the club on 22 January 2002.

Forlan reminisced fondly about the dressing room’s culture, praising the dry humour of Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs and noting the characterful rants often made by Roy Keane and Gary Neville.

But Diego says things got serious whenever the regular staff-versus-players quiz was staged, as was common on European away trips.
Quiz night: Why was Sir Alex raging in 2002? Video

Quiz night: Why was Sir Alex raging in 2002?

Club photographer John Peters used to run the players vs staff quiz nights and, as you can see, they weren’t friendly…

“Something that I remember as well that was great [was] every away game in the Champions League – I don't know if they still do it – there was always a quiz .

“It was the players against all of the staff. The manager and everyone else was on the other side of the room. It was a war! You could say everything there!

“It was really, really funny.”
Reading between the lines, it seems that many of the overseas players were bemused onlookers for large portions of these events.
But Forlan remembers all eyes turning to him whenever the more international questions came up.
“Every time there was some question about general knowledge and it was more worldwide, everybody was saying: ‘Okay Diego, you have to answer!’ 
“Some of the answers I knew it, others no! But [usually] it was all about the United Kingdom, England, whatever. It was like Giggsy, Roy Keane, Gary – they were all answering. Nicky Butt as well.
“When it was worldwide they were like: ‘Okay, you have to!’”
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The Uruguayan – who scored 17 times for United in 98 games – was left under no illusions about the winning ethos at the club during these contests, with both the manager and his players giving no quarter.
“Who won? I don't know. Many times we won, many times they won. It was a fight!” he laughed. “But the manager... he didn't want to lose, you know?! The players [even] less. 
“So imagine all the things we could say there in that battle!”
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Remarkably, the atmosphere from the quizzes would even bleed into training sessions in the subsequent days.
“In the training session, sometimes Ole was playing with Keano and maybe I was playing on the other side, or with them. When we lost, [the quiz] Keano was coming at both of us and it [saying it] was our fault. Always it was our fault! 
“It continued in the dressing room. I remember Ole saying: ‘Okay, Keano, the game is finished. We lost, okay. It's my fault? Okay. But don't shout at me anymore!’”