Roy Keane recalls the time when he was Sunderland manager and Manchester United hammered his team at home four nil. Jonny Evans had a spell at Sunderland to help the northern club get promoted back in the 2006/07 season, but then went back to the Old Trafford club and Keane was desperate to get the Northern Irish man back.
“After the game, Alex Ferguson came to my office for a drink. When he was leaving, he said to me, ‘Give me a call about Jonny Evans.’
“He could see I was down in the dumps after the game. I think he looked at me and thought, ‘He needs a dig-out here.’
“It was the one time he showed me – I suppose – affection: ‘I’ll watch your back.’
“He caught me off guard – ‘He actually cares, a bit.’”
“Niall (Quinn) got on to David Gill and we got Jonny, but there was a massive loan fee.
“So, Ferguson showed me affection, but it was business, too. But – and this is important – Jonny made a huge difference to us.”