For a player who was told as a teenager that he wasn't good enough to make the grade as a professional footballer, Jaap Stam has come along way.
Since the summer of 1998, when Manchester United paid a world-record transfer fee for a defender of £11 million, Stam has gone on to win three Premiership titles, the FA Cup, and the Champions League. He was UEFA's best defender in 1999 and the highest ranked defender in the Year 1999/2000 World and European Footballer of the year polls. When Premiership managers were asked to name the one player they would most like to add to their squads, Jaap Stam again came out on top.
In this his first book, Stam reveals what it is like to play for the biggest and most famous football club in the world, sharing the limelight with the likes of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Roy Keane. On boss Alex Ferguson, he explores the myth behind the man and his methods, and talks about training and match preparation, dressing room secrets at the time of their Treble success, and the transfer saga involving his former PSV team-mate Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
There is also the hitherto untold story of the problems he encountered when first settling in at Old Trafford, how he almost missed out on his dream move, and the way he was written off at the time as 'a waste of money' by the press. On the international stage, Stam is frank in his assessment of Dutch colleagues such as Dennis Bergkamp, Edgar Davids and Mark Overmars and has challenged the views on strengths and weaknesses of British players compared to their foreign counterparts.
Stam is a popular footballer whose opinions are well respected among his fellow professionals. His book provides a fascinating insight into a world-famous sporting institution as he reassesses reputations and reappraises some of the key events in the recent success story that is Manchester United Football Club.
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