Heaton: My first meeting with Sir Alex
Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton remembers when Sir Alex Ferguson had to put him and the other youngsters straight.
In the latest UTD Podcast, Heaton brings up one of the first encounters he had with our legendary former boss. Our no.22 spent his youth career in the United Academy before he left the club in 2010.
During his interesting conversation with presenters Sam Homewood, Helen Evans and former Reds defender David May, the goalkeeper brings up several topics, among them his return to the club and his first meeting with our ex-manager.
When asked about the first time he properly met Sir Alex, the 35-year-old tells a brilliant story from when he was just 17 years old.
"I remember me and Paul McShane coming up the stairs, sort of wet between the ears. It was one of the first days and I’m sure Paul said to him: 'Morning, Alec!' I was stood next to him at the time and honestly, it was brilliant. We didn’t know [that we shouldn’t call him Alec], I’m glad Paul said it and not me," Heaton laughs.
"He made it pretty clear. I think he asked him if he went to school with him or something along those lines. He said 'No, no.' 'Well, it’s not Alex to you, son'. So yeah, I remember that hit home about Sir Alex’s stance in the building. It was good, that."
The aforementioned story ended worse for McShane than Heaton but the keeper, who has three caps for England, remembers when Sir Alex gave him and the whole youth team the well-known hairdryer treatment.
"I have a vague recollection, in the youth team, I think we were messing about a little bit and pushing the boundaries a little bit behaviour-wise and Sir Alex came in,” he said.
"Well, they brought him in to bring the fear of God into us, really, which is exactly how it worked. When the youth-team staff at the time brought him in, I remember we were sat in a room upstairs, not knowing what was going to happen. We just knew they were on our case for misbehaving a little bit, nothing too serious but it was just a straightener for the lads.
"Rest assured, there wasn’t too much misbehaviour the next few weeks after that. It was an interesting moment and it brought home the authority he has and the line of it."
Check out the full episode featuring Heaton in our Official App now.