Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has admitted that he was devastated when 'best mate' Nicky Butt left the club in 2004. Paul Scholes has always been known as a shy, anti-social person but the United midfielder named Nicky Butt as his closest friend during his time as a player.
Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt came through the Manchester United youth system as a part of the famous 'Class of 92', which produced the likes of Gary and Phil Neville, David Beckham and Ryan Giggs.
The Class of 92 played a key role in making Manchester United the powerhouse that they were through the 1990s and early 2000s under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson. The former Manchester United manager did, however, begin to break up the side in the post-millennium era.
David Beckham was the first to leave Old Trafford for Real Madrid, after a falling out with the manager. Butt followed Beckham's lead four months later, leaving for Newcastle prior to the departure of Phil Neville to Everton.
Paul Scholes reveals Nicky Butt's move to Newcastle United left him devastated
Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville were the only 3 players from the Class of 92 to spend their entire careers at Manchester United before hanging up their boots. Despite outlasting a number of his close pals and other United stars, Paul Scholes admitted that it was Butt's exit which hurt Scholes the most.
"It was all part of football. When you start out with those five or six lads, you hope that you'll be there for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. You lose people along the way," Paul Scholes said to DAZN.
"Nicky went and he was my best mate, I'd grown up with him since I was 12 or 13. You're devastated, I really was devastated," commented Scholes.
One of Ferguson's toughest tasks as Manchester United coach was replacing the core group of players that helped him win the treble in 1999. Ferguson was forced to sell many of the players from that squad due to various reasons. However, Scholes believes the Scottish tactician was the master of knowing when to cut his players.
"Phil Neville went, Roy Keane went, some really big characters. Look, players have to go, they might come to a certain age where their legs weren't quite what they were. The manager knew how to get the best out of those players, he always knew when the time was right for them to go," said Paul Scholes.
"Sometimes the player didn't always agree with that. But that's what it's all about, changing teams and then the excitement of bringing players in," added Scholes.
Manchester United sold many of their stars after the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons, which ended in disappointment for the Red Devils. However, Ferguson managed to sign young players like Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. The two players helped the club win three straight League title between 2006 and 2009, as well as the Champions League crown in the 2008-09 season.Published 18 Nov 2020, 18:30 IST