Paul McShane’s cheeky comment towards Alex Ferguson.
Tom Heaton has recalled the moment when Paul McShane greeted legendary Man United manager Alex Ferguson with a very cheeky comment.
McShane recently returned to Manchester United but if Heaton’s story is anything to go by, the Irishman can count himself lucky to be allowed back in the building.
Wicklow-born McShane rejoined Man United back in July as a playing coach with the academy, having left the club as a 20-year-old in 2006.
Paul McShane: Morning, Alec!
During his initial spell at Old Trafford, one of McShane’s teammates was Tom Heaton, who also returned to the club this season as back-up to first team goalkeepers David De Gea and Dean Henderson.
Speaking on the official Man United podcast, the now 35-year-old Heaton has been reflecting on his time with the academy and recalled one particular incident in which McShane was on the receiving end of a trademark Fergie tongue-lashing.
“I remember me and Paul McShane coming up the stairs, sort of wet behind the ears,” Heaton says.
“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,”
A brave move by a young McShane there, it has to be said. So what was Fergie’s response to the young rascal?
“He made it pretty clear,” Heaton continues. “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.”
Alex Ferguson sets youngsters straight.
It wasn’t the only time that McShane and Heaton faced the wrath of the legendary manager either, with the goalkeeper offering up another anecdote in which the whole youth team faced the famous Fergie hairdryer.
“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,” Heaton 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.”
Tom Heaton and Paul McShane back in the building.
“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.”
Despite no longer being manager, Ferguson still retains a lot of power at Old Trafford but you’d like to think both Heaton and McShane are past the misbehaviour of their younger days.
The full conversation with Heaton is available via the Man united app.