Damien Duff remains one of the Republic of Ireland’s greatest ever exports to the Premier League but it could have even been an even more successful career, the Dubliner has revealed.
Duff had spells at Chelsea, Blackburn and Newcastle but almost joined the ranks of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side alongside fellow Irishman Roy Keane.
In an interview with Richie Sadlier on “Second Captains“, Duff revealed a life-long love for United and opened up on the failed move.
“I met [Sir Alex Ferguson] a long time ago. I was just a nervous wreck, they were my club. Obviously before I was at Chelsea I was at Blackburn and I wanted to go there but it didn’t materialise, back then I think my fee was £15m and I ended up going for £17m, it’s a lot of money and it didn’t quite happen. Nearly went to Liverpool, didn’t quite happen. Everything happens for a reason.”
The 38-year-old admitted he still regrets not getting his dream move.
“It’s only kind of years later, I meet Roy when he joined back up with the Irish team and he was like ‘why didn’t you come?’, I said I wanted to come and then you realise right, well something has gone missing somewhere along the line, but I’m not one to sit at home mulling over things.”
Although he didn’t make it to the Theatre of Dreams, Duff enjoyed plenty of success at Chelsea, lifting the Premier League on two occasions before leaving for Newcastle in 2006.
The Ballyboden-born attacker played in Michael Carrick’s testimonial recently and the experience brought all his childhood love for the famous club back to the fore.
“I always supported then who I played for, supported Blackburn, supported Chelsea, but it’s only kind of when I retired I’ve realised, my God I just love Manchester United.”
“Driving there with my kids last week, the only reason I kind of played in it to be fair is my kids never really saw me play in a game in a big stadium, but I brought them over and I see the Man United sign at Old Trafford, and I was like, that’s ingrained in me.
“I used to watch my Man United videos when I was four, five, and it just kind of all came flooding back. It was Carrick’s testimonial but it felt like my day!”
Duff bagged 19 goals in 81 games for Chelsea and remains a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge. Had he forced the move to United through, Ferguson may never have signed a certain Cristiano Ronaldo a short time later. As Duff says, everything happens for a reason.