The incredible tale of Chicha's United transfer

Monday 06 September 2021 16:23

In his brilliant UTD Podcast, available now in our App, Javier Hernandez reveals exactly how his 2010 transfer to Manchester United from Chivas Guadalajara.

Here, you can read a transcript of Chicharito's passionate and unmissable story...

“Me. Playing in my hometown club, Chivas? It was my dream. 

“I was scoring goals. I was getting my first call-ups with the national team. A World Cup was coming. And from behind, I did not know that Manchester United was following me. 

“I cannot even believe it now. It was like, wow. 

“I haven’t talked about this story before because that’s another reason why I think Sir Alex Ferguson and everyone at United trusted in me and my family. 

“I think that was the cherry of the pie for everyone to agree that I should deserve a chance of trying Manchester United because you know about that school of thought and that culture. You need to have more than only football qualities to be a Manchester United player. We all know that. 

“And that is something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is trying to bring up again in a way now. I can see it. Manchester United has always been very warm and home based.

UTD Podcast: The story of Chicha's transfer Video

UTD Podcast: The story of Chicha's transfer

Watch this amazing section of Javier's UTD Podcast, recalling his move to Old Trafford from Chivas Guadalajara...

“So, I was coming from a kind of injury, it wasn’t an injury, but it was one of these things where we all decided we didn’t want to risk because they said, ‘we cannot risk you because if we do and we then miss you for four or five weeks, in short tournaments in Mexico, it’s almost like half of the tournament’. 

“But then the other risk, the fight to get a spot in the 2010 World Cup squad of Mexico, was there too. 

“So, I had an injury, we were playing Pachuca and I didn’t know Jim Lawlor, United’s chief scout, was there to see a live match of mine. After that match, there was another match that I was going to play, so the first one I was in the stands and the next one I was going to be on the bench. At this stage, we were on double games per week, so on Wednesday we were playing Pachuca and then on the weekend, we were going to play Puebla at home. 

“Then we decided I was going to the bench against Puebla because the national team call-up was on the following Thursday or Friday and my name wasn’t in, so I need to push it a little bit by at least being on the bench. 

“My dad told me, ‘son, an ex-footballer, Marco Vazquez, contacted me because there’s like a very big opportunity on business for us as a family and they want us to talk’. My dad managed not to put pressure on me, and I think Jim Lawlor told Marco Vasquez to tell me that they didn’t want to mess with my head in that way because I was like 20, 21 years old and Jim Lawlor had a lot of experience of these transfers and scouting stuff. 

“He told me, ‘I have this business, I need to go and see them at this hotel on Friday night’, Saturday night was the game. So, I was like ‘cool, dad’ but my mindset was like I need to recover, I need to go to the national team. I was like, ‘okay, dad, I trust in you, I know that you are not going to see people that are not safe to see. I trust in you’. 

“So, anyway he went, and we played against Puebla the next day, we won 3-2, I came on for 15 or 20 minutes, I didn’t get injured, but I wasn’t one hundred per cent. It’s typical because if you push - it was my groin - you could rip or tear it and I was so upset because I have the national team to go for. 
“So, I left the stadium after the game and usually the routine was always me and my family jump in a car, we drop my grandads, my aunts, my cousins, everyone at the family home, we stay for a bit, we chat, we have dinner and then my parents and my sister and me go back to our house to sleep and then the next day I wake up and I train. 

“When I jumped into the car, I was crying, thinking like ‘what’s going to happen? I have my second call-up next week, and I want to win a spot’ and stuff like that. I see my dad driving and my mother next to me, very calm. Both calm and a calmness that scares you in a way because we always share this like emotions and stuff. I didn’t expect them to be crying but at least like worry of the solution to this. 

“They were so calm, and I was like what the f***? 

“And I was saying to my mother, ‘mum, what’s going on with you?’ because honestly, I’m a crier and I inherit that because of my mum because we cry about everything. Like everything.

“So, they said, ‘we need to go home because we need to go quick, it’s a change of the routine, we have two cars, remember the meeting we had yesterday, we need to talk about that, and we need to have a family meeting’. 

“They would drive around the corner to get the other car and I didn’t know that the other car was because Jim Lawlor wanted to meet me and my father again with a translator to make the first contact between us and United. 

“I was in the front seat crying and only imagining in my football mind, what is going to happen and how I’m going to recover and stuff like that and then my dad said, ‘remember the meeting’, and he gives me a card. 

“It says Jim Lawlor. But he has the badge of Manchester United. 

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“In Latin America culture and in Mexico, there’s a lot of agents, a lot of projects that utilise the badge of any top team around the world to pretend that they are involved in soccer. So, I saw a lot of those ones in the past. 

“So, my dad gave it to me, and I was like, ‘okay, what does he want?’, and I didn’t realise it was actually Manchester United. And my dad starts crying. To see that, it was like wow. 

“Then my gut was telling me inside like, ‘no way’. This is honestly related with the badge. So, he told me, ‘son, the meeting I had yesterday was with a scout from Manchester United and he wants to speak with you because they want to make sure you want to go with him and my straight answer was like, ‘make sure that I want to go with him? You didn’t tell them that I want to go with him? Of course I want! You don’t need to ask me, you should just tell him’. I even patronised my father in a way with emotions. 

“But he said, ‘no, we need to speak with them, they want to speak with you, get a feel and stuff like that’ and I’m like crying. But he said, ‘they just want to see the two of us, so your sister and your mother are going home and they’re going to meet you there’. 

“So, we go, we arrive to a place and there were like offices. And honestly, Jim Lawlor made it almost like a movie. Like no one should know about it. And they know the culture of Latin America, they probably deal with a lot of players, it’s Manchester United wanting a Mexican player, the first time ever, it could create chaos and news and stuff. I understand it. 

“I arrived and when I saw Jim, I reached almost two metres! I’m like 175 in height too! I saw him and thought this s*** is real, man. He is coming from there and we’re going to speak. 

“I saw Jim, the translator, my dad, and then there was myself and Jim starts speaking English, speaking a lot, he wanted to make sure that I wasn’t this kind of player that utilised a club for a deal somewhere else. 

“Because if I go out and say Manchester United want me then probably other teams come, and they start doing who offers more money. So, he starts speaking about the culture and he got two surprises. 

“First, he spoke, and he looked at the translator and says, ‘okay, translate’ and I stopped the translator and said, ‘let me just try’, I said in English, ‘I think I understand, I want to try’, just like that. 
So, I tried my English. Not as good as now but I tried my English because of the adrenaline. I think it made me speak proper English because the sentences were probably terrible, but I knew the words I needed to say. 

“I remember the exact words I told Jim. I said, ‘look, I know about the final of 2008, the final of 1999 and I start saying names like the Class of 92, I know about Ryan Giggs, I know about Sir Alex Ferguson, the coaching staff, Old Trafford. I dream about it’. 

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“I even joked that I remember one game I was happy that Manchester United lost. The Real Madrid one because my idol Ronaldo, O Fenomeno, scored a hat-trick over there and he laughed. I started speaking about that in bad English and I noticed the expression of Jim change in a way, in relief, like we can trust this guy. Like, this guy knows. 

“I said, ‘don’t worry, I want to go and play with you but I told him it’s going to be very difficult’ and he was like, ‘I heard, I investigated a little bit about the owner’ but then he said, ‘I realise after the World Cup, there’s a pre-season tour in the USA, they’re building a new stadium at Chivas, we can probably offer them we go and play them in the first match of the stadium and that could help’. And my eyes were wide, I was like, ‘yes, of course that will help’. 

“But he said I could tell no one. I told him, ‘Jim, this family you can trust. No one is going to speak. Not my mother, my dad, my sister, no one is going to speak’. 

“Then the meeting went on a bit more and then it finished because they told me we need to more different steps. 

“When I went out of that meeting, I cried, and I couldn’t believe it. I stayed like that because that was the best way for me to make it something that couldn’t unbalance my present. 

“Because my present was amazing, I was scoring a goal every match, fighting for a place in Mexico’s World Cup squad was amazing, the World Cup was around the corner and I wanted to be a champion with my club, be a starter and then go to Manchester United. 

“So, when I went out for games after that, I was like, ‘you’re going to be a Red Devil, but just focus on your s*** right now’. 

“And the whole process, every step forward, I was like ‘it’s still not yet’. 

“Even when I went to Old Trafford and watched the game that sadly we lost against Bayern Munich in 2009/10 with the Arjen Robben volley, because the next day was the presentation. 

“Inside myself, it was like, the moment I arrive in Manchester, as a Manchester United player, that’s when it’s on.  But I told myself, ‘still, you need to keep working, keep improving until then’.”

Listen to Chicharito's UTD Podcast in full via the United App.

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