Luke Chadwick recalls furious Alex Ferguson reaction when he rejected loan move
"I'm driving down to meet Pards and, the whole way, I'm thinking, 'What does he mean?!'"
Luke Chadwick got off to a flyer as a Manchester United player. Alex Ferguson, as he often did with young talents, gave him his chance and challenged the winger to prove him right.
After making his United debut at the age of 19, in a League Cup game, the club sent him to Royal Antwerp for some first team experience. He returned in November 2000 and made 16 appearances - scoring twice - as he helped United to another league title, under Ferguson.
Having also amassed 13 England Under 21 appearances, the 2001/02 season was the stage for Chadwick to kick on. He made 11 appearances, but struggled to get game-time on the wings as Ferguson had David Beckham and Ryan Giggs to call on. He played the early part of the following season, but Ferguson decided to loan him out to see if a season in the Championship would hone the 21-year-old's skills.
In a wide-ranging All To Play For interview with Joe Cole and Steve Sidwell [LISTEN from 19:30 below], Luke Chadwick recalled Ferguson's reaction when he rejected his preferred loan destination.
Luke Chadwick on furious Alex Ferguson reaction
After making five appearances for Manchester United, earlier in the 2002/03 season, Alex Ferguson went ahead with his plan to loan Luke Chadwick out. The former United winger recalled:
"Sir Alex wanted me to go to Cardiff because he was mates with [their manager] Lenny Lawrence, but I was keen on Reading. I had spoken with Alan Pardew.
"So I went in to see him early one morning at Carrington, before I went down to Reading. He said to me, 'You're not going. You're going to Cardiff'. I told him, 'Gaffer, no. I'm going to Reading.
"He looked at me and just said, 'Do what you f***ing want, then, and just see what happens!'
Chadwick said his partner was nine months pregnant, at the time, but the couple drove down to Reading together for his formal meeting with Alan Pardew.
"I'm driving down to meet Pards," said Chadwick, "and, the whole way, I'm thinking, 'What does he mean?! What am I going to do?'
"I got to Reading and there was a message waiting for Pards - Alex Ferguson wants you to phone him. So, Pards phones him and my face has gone white. I'm thinking, 'What is he going to say?'
"Pardew's face has just dropped. I can't hear what he's been told but Fergie is shouting at him, down the phone! Pards puts the phone down and says, 'Well, you can come but he says United are not going to pay you'. So, I was on a decent contract with United and Pards said they could only pay me about half that.
"I'm thinking, 'What am I going to do?' So I signed the deal with them there, for half the money because I was shitting myself to go back up and hear what Fergie would say to me! I took a massive hit, but it was worth it to not get a bollicking when I went back up."
Although he had angered Ferguson by going against his wishes, Chadwick had held his ground and helped Reading as they got to a Championship playoff, before missing out on Premier League promotion to Wolves. The following summer, Ferguson loaned out Chadwick to Burnley.
"Sir Alex told me about Burnley and I just agreed with him, that time," Chadwick recalls. "Then he says, 'Stan Ternent, the Burnley boss, is another mate of mine. We'll pay all your wages this time'."
It was a decent gesture from Ferguson but he had already made up his mind on Chadwick, especially with Cristiano Ronaldo arriving at Old Trafford and bursting with potential.
After a successful loan spell at Burnley, Chadwick was signed by new West Ham manager Alan Pardew on a free transfer from United in the summer of 2004. He would also play with Stoke City and Norwich before settling into a six-season spell at MK Dons. He ended up scoring 53 goals in 517 club games before retiring in 2015.
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