Peter Schmeichel didn’t take it personally when former teammate Gary Neville turned down the opportunity to shake his hand at Maine Road in 2002.
Peter Schmeichel wore the captain’s armband for Manchester City in his first Manchester derby on the other side and he had an awkward encounter with Gary Neville in the tunnel.
Schmeichel let Neville know that he was standing on the wrong side of the tunnel and when he put his hand out for a handshake, the United captain ignored the gesture.
“I’ll tell you what – I kind of liked him for it,” Schmeichel told the UTD Podcast.
“You have to do everything you can for your team and one thing is you put your passion in there. You have to look very, very hard to find anyone who’s got more passion for Man United than Gary Neville.”
Neville stands by the decision to refuse the handshake and he’s likely relieved that the pre-match encounter is what most people remember from the game rather than his inexplicable error that allowed Shaun Goater to score his second goal of the match.
Schmeichel hates talking about the game but remains thankful that a back injury picked up at Old Trafford ruled him out of the return fixture.
The ex-United goalkeeper continued: “Even to this day, it kind of annoys me because whenever these derbies come up – I never lost a derby and I won that one…
“On the day it was brilliant and Shaun Goater, who is a really good friend of mine, scored two goals and I was really happy for him but so many years after it, I still have to talk about it.
“And then before the game here [Old Trafford], luck struck me and I got an injury in the warm-up. I wasn’t ducking out of it but I really did always have a back problem and it popped up at times when I didn’t know it was popping up.
“I felt that and I knew from experience that I shouldn’t play.”